CHAMPCAR/CART: Laguna Seca Player's Racing Saturday report

Monterey, California, September 9, 2000 Team Player's drivers Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier will start on the outside of Row 8 and 9 respectively at the Grand Prix of Monterey, the 16th race of the season in the FedEx CART Championship, run...

Monterey, California, September 9, 2000 Team Player's drivers Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier will start on the outside of Row 8 and 9 respectively at the Grand Prix of Monterey, the 16th race of the season in the FedEx CART Championship, run Sunday on the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca road course.

The provisional time of 1 minute, 7.722 seconds (118.969 mph) that Brazilian Helio Castroneves recorded on Friday stood up at today's qualifying session, earning him the pole. His teammate and fellow Brazilian Gil de Ferran also retained his front-row spot, with his Friday fast lap of 1:07.823. Scotland's Dario Franchitti and American Bryan Herta, who has won the event the last two years, make up Row 2.

Carpentier was back on the track following a spectacular incident in Friday's session, in which his car flipped backwards over the retaining wall. He showed no repercussions from the incident. "I'm a bit sore on the left side of my neck but otherwise, I'm OK," said Carpentier, who had to resort to the back-up car. "I was happy to get right back out there, and I didn't let it affect my approach at all."

While Carpentier , who put in a quick lap of 1:09.450, had hoped to move up the field and secure a higher position on the starting grid, he maintained an optimistic outlook for the race. "It's a long race and a lot of things do happen out on the track," he remarked. "We've seen people come from quite a ways back to finish right in contention, and even win races.

"There were a few strikes against us today that prevented us from getting closer to the front of the grid. When we tested here, Team Player's tried a new suspension, but that got damaged in the accident in Vancouver last weekend. With the previous suspension back on the car, we weren't able to clock the speeds we did in testing. And then, having to go to the back-up car today, it wasn't as well-balanced as the one we were using on Friday."

Tagliani, who registered a fast lap of 1:09.393, struggled with the car's handling for a good part of the session, but the Team Player's crew brought the car in and discovered the problem, leaving Tagliani upbeat about his chances to make some progress during Sunday's race.

"Obviously, I'm not happy with the results today," admitted Tagliani. "We tried a lot of different set-ups to improve the grip but we weren't able to come up with the right one. But then, after the team brought the car back to the transporter, it found that a flap on the front wing was broken. That's why we were unable to have more downforce. Still, I'm confident for the race, now that we've found what the problem was. Team Player's does a great job during the pit stops, so maybe we can some gains in that regard tomorrow as well."

Racing fans can track the progress of Team Player's all weekend by logging on to the team's web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the 83-lap Grand Prix of Monterey live on The Sports Network at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Dario Franchitti , Bryan Herta