MIAMI, Fla. (February 9, 2001) --- Following the news of CART's decision to cancel the Rio 200 - round 2 of the previously scheduled 22-race calendar - due to an unavoidable situation instigated by the new mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Newman/Haas...
MIAMI, Fla. (February 9, 2001) --- Following the news of CART's decision to cancel the Rio 200 - round 2 of the previously scheduled 22-race calendar - due to an unavoidable situation instigated by the new mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Newman/Haas Racing drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Cristiano da Matta, both Brazilians, had the following comments:
Christian Fittipaldi, #11 Kmart Newman/Haas Toyota-Lola (while on his honeymoon): "After it was initially announced that the new mayor of Rio put the race on hold to review the city contracts, I knew that my uncle would work very hard to keep this race on the schedule. I know he did his best to find a solution but the situation was out of his hands. It's extremely disappointing not to race in Rio, not only for me because I am a Brazilian but also for the fans we have in the country. CART racing is growing in popularity in Brazil partly due to the success of the Brazilians who represent our country in this sport. It is a shame that the new mayor made this decision. It is also a shame about the timing of the decision."
Cristiano da Matta, #6 Texaco/Havoline Newman/Haas Toyota-Lola: "I am racing for a stronger team this year and really had a chance to win the race in my home country so I am very disappointed. My previous team ran well in Rio the past few years but no I have an even better chance to win and I am extremely disappointed not to be able to race in my home country. If they close the facility it would also be a shame. The first time I ever drove a racecar was there. It would be crazy to get rid of the track. It is in good condition. Probably the only thing that is needed to put on a good race there is for the grass to be mowed. It is a top-class racetrack. There has been a lot invested in the past five years to improve the track. It is a shame that it won't be used. The interest in Brazil grows every day and this is the only chance for the fans to watch us race in person, up-close. With 10 Brazilians doing very well in the series, I do not understand why this happened."