CHAMPCAR/CART: Fittipaldi 4th and Andretti 12th in Vancouver

- Big Kmart/Route 66 driver Christian Fittipaldi narrowly missed matching his highest Vancouver finish of third place after finishing fourth in the 90-lap Molson Indy Vancouver. After being the highest Ford qualifier, Fittipaldi started the race...

- Big Kmart/Route 66 driver Christian Fittipaldi narrowly missed matching his highest Vancouver finish of third place after finishing fourth in the 90-lap Molson Indy Vancouver. After being the highest Ford qualifier, Fittipaldi started the race in sixth place but was passed by Cristiano da Matta on the second lap after the race started under caution for one lap because teammates and front row starters Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy were not properly lined up. He held seventh place until his first pit stop on lap 41. After the first round of stops were complete, Fittipaldi moved into eighth place. He was one position behind his previous position because Adrian Fernandez pitted earlier than the majority of the field when he was in 20th place and was now in fourth place behind race leader Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy. Fittipaldi moved into sixth place after third place runner Gil de Ferran was black-flagged for a blend line violation and his teammate, Helio Castroneves crashed into the tire barrier on lap 44. He held sixth place until his second pit stop for a splash of fuel (10 gallons) under caution on lap 51 and was able to return to the track in the same position. He held sixth place until lap 67 when third place runner Juan Montoya stopped on course with mechanical failure and he moved into fifth. He held fifth place until lap 87 when third place runner da Matta had to pit for a splash of fuel to complete the race. He held off Gil de Ferran for the remaining laps and finished in fourth place. Following are his post race comments:

"It wasn't the finish we were hoping for but I can't complain," said Fittipaldi. "We thought we could be on the podium here but we will certainly take it considering the season we have had so far. We have been competitive enough to win this season but haven't been able to do it for one reason or another. It was a pretty good finish though considering we didn't have the speed to catch up to da Matta or the rest. Team Green and the Penske's will be tough at Laguna but we will try our best to be ahead of them at the end of the race."

- Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline driver Michael Andretti held onto first place in the CART FedEx point standings although race winner Paul Tracy closed the margin to six points when Andretti ran out of fuel due to a possible problem with the fueling system with one-and-one-half laps to go in the 90-lap Molson Indy Vancouver. Andretti was attempting to score his third Canadian sweep (1991 and 1992) by adding a Vancouver victory to his Toronto win in July. He started the race in eighth place with a possible one-stop strategy that would be accomplished by a very lean fuel mixture and conservation strategy. He held eighth place until the frontrunners began pitting and moved into sixth place before stopping on lap 43. He returned to the race in 10th place but moved into eighth after de Ferran was black-flagged and passing Kenny Brack. De Ferran began pressuring Andretti and was alongside him heading into turn six when Andretti, who had been having trouble getting his tires up to racing temperatures on restarts, locked up his tires and almost missed the turn. Other cars followed de Ferran and Andretti dropped from eighth to 12th place. He held 12th place until third place Montoya retired from the event. He held 11th place until he passed Max Papis, who was running in 10th place but pitted for a splash of fuel under caution. He moved into 9th place when Kenny Brack slowed on course on lap 72 and into eighth place when seventh place runner Memo Gidley was black-flagged for smoke. He held eighth place for the following 12 laps and looked to score five points toward the Championship when suddenly he stopped on course, apparently out of fuel in turn nine. The team is investigating the why the telemetry said Andretti had enough fuel to complete the race but initial findings indicate a problem with a component of the fuel tank. Following are his post race comments:

"They found something wrong with the fuel tank so that might have been the problem," said Andretti. "The telemetry told us that we had enough fuel to go the distance. We had been running very lean since the start of the race and were going slower than most of the guys because we were going for a one-stop strategy. That turned out to be a mistake because we should have finished fourth or fifth with a two-stop strategy. It's such a shame because it really puts pressure on us for Laguna. The Green cars and Penske are going to be strong and every point counts now. This hurts a lot for the Championship. Now our chances are not as good as they would have been if we finished fourth or fifth. (On dropping from eighth to 12th when Gil was attempting a pass:) I was having a problem getting my tires warm on the restarts and didn't get a chance to warm up my tires and Gil got a run on me. I had to go wide and almost missed the turn. It was a tough race. We were definitely hoping for more than one point today."

- Next on the Schedule: The CART FedEx Championship reconvenes next weekend at Laguna Seca Raceway for the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Presented by Shell.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Memo Gidley , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta