CHAMPCAR/CART: Lexington: Team Player's Friday qualifying report

Team Player'S displays its might in Mid-Ohio as Carpentier wins provisional pole and Tagliani is fourth fastest. Lexington, Ohio, August 9, 2002 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier assured himself of a front-row start for Sunday's Grand...

Team Player'S displays its might in Mid-Ohio as Carpentier wins provisional pole and Tagliani is fourth fastest.

Lexington, Ohio, August 9, 2002 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier assured himself of a front-row start for Sunday's Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio the 100th race of his CART career - when he won the provisional pole Friday, edging out current drivers' standings leader Cristiano da Matta by 5 one-hundredths of a second on the 2.258-mile road course.

The provisional qualifying session for Round 11 of the series was extremely productive for Team Player's, as Carpentier's teammate Alex Tagliani clocked the fourth fastest time and was one of several drivers who shot to the top of the leader board during the session.

"This really gets me fired up for my 100th career start," said Carpentier, who toured the rolling Mid-Ohio course in 1 minute, 7.040 seconds (121.253 mph/195.137 km/h) on the 11th of his 12 laps. He earned the provisional pole with three minutes left in the session, displacing da Matta in the process. About 90 seconds later, the session prematurely ended under a red flag that was brought out following Tora Takagi's spin.

"Our qualifying session today was a lot like the race we won in Cleveland last month," added Carpentier. "My engineer Mike Cannon decided to make some changes to the car's set-up as we went along, just as we did in Cleveland, and it worked. The changes were perfect and so was the teamwork that we had out there today. I did my quick lap at the right moment and then we got a break at the end when the red flag came out. I've had those red flags work against me sometimes, but today it was in my favour."

Carpentier said he arrived in Mid-Ohio with a confidence that Team Player's would do well on the Mid-Ohio road course because the Reynard chassis and Ford engine had performed well in testing sessions on that track a few months ago. "The Ford and Reynard package worked really well here today," remarked Carpentier. "It was a perfect session. It's great to be starting from the front row because this track is narrow and it's quite hard to pass, so you want to be running up front."

Tagliani, who was only four-tenths of a second (1:07.440, 120.534 mph/193.980 km/h) off his teammate's best lap, believes he has a car that is also pole or front row-material. The only area of the track that gave him trouble in Friday's qualifying was in the crest leading into turn 9.

"We're losing about three-tenths of a second in that spot," explained Tagliani. "The car gets loose when I'm braking in that area and the rear seems to want to snap. If we can fix that, I'm convinced we could have the pole.

"Having two cars in the top four today was mighty good but we have to keep improving for tomorrow because you'll see that times will be dropping by about a second. I'm not at all surprised by our good results. We knew that the car was going to adhere to this type of road course. Team Player's performance today is a really good sign for the road-course we have left on the schedule."

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on The Sports Network starting at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

-player's

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Tora Takagi