Houston, Texas, September 30, 2000 Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani delivered his best street-course qualifying performance of the season today when he clocked the eighth-fastest lap on the 1.527-mile Grand Prix of Houston circuit, site of ...
Houston, Texas, September 30, 2000 Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani delivered his best street-course qualifying performance of the season today when he clocked the eighth-fastest lap on the 1.527-mile Grand Prix of Houston circuit, site of Sunday's Round 18 in the FedEx CART Championship.
Tagliani improved four positions from Friday's first qualifying session as he covered the distance in 59.213 seconds (92.838 miles per hour). Gil de Ferran of Brazil took the pole with a quick lap of 58.757 seconds (93.558 mph), less than a tenth of a second ahead of Scotland's Dario Franchitti. Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier, who was on a quick lap when the session was red flagged because of an incident involving another driver, had to settle for Row 10 on the grid.
"Team Player's did a good job setting the car for this session, and I'm pleased with its performance," said Tagliani, who earned his eighth top-10 qualifying result of the season. "This track is real short, so it's quite difficult to get a clear lap. If you do get a clear lap, you have to be perfect all the way around. If you make a slight mistake, it's costly, and you may not get another chance.
"I had a chance on my next-to-last lap, but I grazed the wall trying to pass another driver. Fortunately, I was able to put in my quickest lap of the session on the next lap, although it didn't move me up the board. I did that fastest lap on my 10th time around the track on the same set of tires, which I find a bit amazing."
Carpentier had some ground to make up after a series of circumstances, including the serving of an eight-minute penalty at the end of Friday's session, combined to relegate him to 22nd. He was making progress in that regard when the red flag was brought out late in the session, after the car of Tarso Marques hit the wall.
"I had just come out of the pits, where the Team Player's guys had put on new tires and made adjustments to the car modifying the front's spring tension," explained Carpentier., whose best lap was 59.842 seconds (91.862 mph). "I was on a quick lap with the track conditions at its best for our group when the incident occurred, so I wasn't able to move higher up the grid. We'll have to deal with our starting position for the race and work our way up. On the bright side, Alex's crew seems to have found a very good set-up, so my engineers will sit down with him tonight and see what makes them go so quickly."
Tagliani forecasts a tough race, because passing is limited and drivers are going to have to pounce on the least little mistake. "Races strategy and great pit stops are keys on this track, but you also have to make sure you stay clear of trouble," said Tagliani.
In the CART Toyota Atlantic series, Team Player's driver Andrew Bordin, of Woodbridge, Ontario, won his second pole of the season in today's qualifying for the final race on the Atlantic schedule, which goes at 10:40 (ET) on Sunday. Bordin, who shares the front row with fellow Canadian David Rutledge, is seeking his second win of the year.
Racing fans can track the progress of Team Player's this weekend by logging on to the web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the Grand Prix of Houston on a tape delay on The Sports Network at 5:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.