CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach Team Player''s Qualifying Report

Long Beach, California, April 15, 2000 Improving significantly in the second qualifying session for Sunday's Grand Prix of Long Beach, Team Player's drivers Memo Gidley and Alex Tagliani will start from the 5th and 6th row respectively in the...

Long Beach, California, April 15, 2000 Improving significantly in the second qualifying session for Sunday's Grand Prix of Long Beach, Team Player's drivers Memo Gidley and Alex Tagliani will start from the 5th and 6th row respectively in the 82-lap race, the second event of the FedEx Championship season.

Gidley, who clocked the 10th fastest lap in today's session, moved up nine positions on the grid from his Friday run, while Tagliani's 11th-place finish advanced him five positions over the first day of qualifying.

Forming the front row of the grid are Gil de Ferran, who recorded a pole-winning time of 1 minute, 7.494 seconds, and Jimmy Vasser, whose clocking of 1:07.703 was enough to edge out defending Long Beach champion Juan Montoya.

"It's too bad I wasn't able to get a clearer lap because I know there was another two-tenths of a second in the Player's Reynard," said Tagliani, a two-time winner in Long Beach while competing in the Atlantic series. "I just couldn't buy a break in the two qualifying sessions. The fact I was able to put in the second fastest time overall in practice this morning, when I was not held up, is a good sign. With the progress that we've made all weekend, I think we'll have a good race tomorrow."

Gidley, who will be competing in his first race with Team Player's as a replacement for the injured Patrick Carpentier, recorded his best time on his last qualifying lap, after the Player's crew had bled the brakes and put on a fresh set of tires when he pulled in for his final pit stop.

"On my last three laps, I was pushing as hard as I could braking a little later but making sure I didn't do anything foolish," related Gidley, whose previous 10 starts in his CART career have all been on road or street courses, which is the configuration at Long Beach. "There were a hectic couple of laps but they very satisfying. I know I can do well during the race and I'm not just out there to cruise around. With the car that the Player's crew provides, you know you can win."

Two years ago at the Grand Prix of Long Beach, Montoya became the first driver in the history of the event to win from a starting position of higher than ninth on the grid. He grabbed the checkered flag after starting 11th.

"That's something to shoot for," remarked Tagliani. "We're going to give it our best to duplicate that feat."

Racing fans can watch the race live on The Sports Network at 4 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.

WEEKEND SCHEDULE

Eastern time

Sunday, April 16 CART warm-up noon 12:30 p.m.

CART race 4:00 p.m.

NEWS EDITORS TELEVISION

A VISUAL CLIP FROM LONG BEACH WILL DE SENT VIA SATELLITE FOLLOWING THE RACE, SUNDAY*

SUNDAY, APRIL 16, 2000

TIME: 7:30 p.m. 7:45 p.m. (Eastern time) SATELLITE : Telstar 6/K9 93 degrees West d/l freq: 11901 vertical pole AUDIO: 6.2 & 6.8 Mhz

** FOR ANY PROBLEM REGARDING SATELLITE TRANSMISSION CONTACT Caroline: (514) 927-1298 (cell.)

TEAM PLAYER'S NEWS BUREAU At the track: France Larrivee: (514) 594-7416 (cell) Max d'Orsonnens: (562) 901-0130

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Memo Gidley , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani