Carpentier takes all comers; flag-to-flag in fastest Laguna Seca Champ Car race. Patrick Carpentier led from green to checkered flags today, winning the Grand Prix of Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in his ...
Carpentier takes all comers; flag-to-flag in fastest Laguna Seca Champ Car race.
Patrick Carpentier led from green to checkered flags today, winning the Grand Prix of Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in his #32 Team Player's Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone racer. It was the Canadian's fourth Champ Car victory, fourth pole and came in his seventh race using the Lola chassis. Advised from the start "tires would be the issue," Carpentier's balanced use of a car he called "fantastic" helped him get the win. He set fast lap of the race six from the Lap 87 close, at 71.898 seconds (112.059mph).
With only one lap of caution for a ragged start, Carpentier won the fastest of 21 CART races held at this 2.238-mile natural road course, at a record one hour 48 minutes and 11.023 seconds (107.986mph average speed) in dominant fashion, still taking victory from Bruno Junqueira's #1 PacifiCare Lola by only .844 seconds. The Brazilian's Lola was "strong at the end of each stint. I was able to push really hard," explaining his small lag at the checkers.
Those two were never hounded in the latter stages of the race by third-place finisher #3 Team Player's Lola driver Paul Tracy, 28.5 seconds in arrears at the end of 87 laps. Tracy checked up a bit late at the false start, bumping Carpentier. In his second stint, Tracy flat-spotted cold tires to "suffer 25 laps of vibration." He recovered with pit stops that were" a hair better."
Despite the penalty of starting 13th when penalized for being underweight after taking pole position, Michel Jourdain Jr. earned fourth place in the #9 Gigante Lola, 40 seconds back. The Mexican point leader owning a six-point advantage over Junqueira and eight ahead of Tracy (with 89), "had the fastest car yesterday and today. Things happen for a reason. This was my best car ever. I could pass so many cars," Jourdain acknowledged. Only four classified as non-finishers and eight drivers were on the lead lap at the close, among them Lola drivers Oriol Servia, 6th in the #20 Visteon Lola and Adrian Fernandez, who took 7th in his #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Lola.
The race was held under perfect Central California conditions, with temperatures in the 66-69 degree range and track temps at 107-100 degrees. The Champ Cars now haul north to Portland, OR for the G.I. Joe's 200, race eight in the 19-event season.