CHAMPCAR/CART: Fittipaldi, da Matta Vancouver qualifying report

Fittipaldi qualified 12th and da Matta 14th After Stuck Throttle Put Him CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI "We lost out on our second set of tires because the red came out. We made a change to the rear of the car that improved the front but hurt the ...

Fittipaldi qualified 12th and da Matta 14th After Stuck Throttle Put Him

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI
"We lost out on our second set of tires because the red came out. We made a change to the rear of the car that improved the front but hurt the traction. We're off a little on the set-up. By no means could we have had the pole but we could have had a low 101.2 or 101.3 that would have put us eighth. That's not pole but it's four less people I would have to pass in the race. Passing isn't so easy these days so every position you can get in qualifying helps you on Sunday and in the Championship."

· NOTE: Is currently 56 points back from first place in the Championship standings in 11th place with 54 to leader Castroneves, 110. In five starts at Vancouver, Fittipaldi's best finish at the track is third in 1996, after starting in 14th position. Last year he finished fourth; in 1999 he was unable to compete; finished 14th in 1998 due to contact late race with Hearn; finished 9th in 1997 because of contact on the last lap; and finished 24th in 1995 as a result of exhaust failure.

CRISTIANO da MATTA

"We had a small problem with the throttle sticking on Friday and took the system apart last night but didn't find anything. On my first lap, the throttle stuck and I went in to the tires. After sitting in the pits for eight minutes I went back out in my back-up car and it was completely different that my race car. The race car was a lot faster. We had time for three more laps but Paul crashed and we had to settle for 14th place. I had new tires and they were just getting to their peak when the red came out. It's a shame to qualify 14th because we have been running pretty well this weekend. We'll just have to hope others run into problems during the race so we can collect as many points as possible. We need a good finish here this weekend. We need the race to go our way."

· NOTE: After running the third fastest lap in the morning session, da Matta hoped for a front-of-the-grid starting position. On first lap out in the 30-minute qualifying session, the throttle stuck and da Matta landed in a tire wall. He received an eight-minute penalty for bringing out the red flag and was not allowed to make a qualifying run. Due to problem with his race car, da Matta returned on course in his back-up car for the remainder of qualifying. With 2-1/2 minutes remaining in the session and da Matta coming around the front straight to have his lap scored, Paul Tracy crashed and brought out both the red flag and the checkered flag thus ending the session. Is only 32 points out of first place in the Championship while in seventh. Will be his third Champ car race at Vancouver and first with NHR. Da Matta finished seventh last year after running in third until he had to pit for fuel with only five laps to go. In '99, he finished fifth after starting in 17th. Clinched the Indy Lights Championship here in '98. Da Matta has won two Indy Lights races at Vancouver, one in '98 and the other in '97.

Qualifying for the Molson Indy Vancouver will air 1 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2. CART 2Day airs 11 a.m. Sunday on ESPN2, while ESPN2's race broadcast begins 6 p.m. ET. Twenty of 21 FedEx Championship Series events are being televised live on ABC-TV or ESPN and 18 are being televised live on Eurosport, a European network that reaches 250 million viewers in 54 countries. Sunday's race will also air on the CART Radio Network and on CART's official website, at www.cart.com .

-NHR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy