Brack beats the oddds; takes first road course win in CART Mexico finale. A tough season for Kenny Brack and the ...
Brack beats the oddds; takes first road course win in CART Mexico finale.
A tough season for Kenny Brack and the #12 Target Lola/Toyota team turned around in today's CART finale, as the Swede notched his first Champ Car road course victory in the Gran Premio Telmex/Gigante presented by Banamex/Visa at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. Cristiano da Matta overcame his worst start of the season (12th) in the #1 Havoline Lola/Toyota to take second place in the 73-lap enduro. He was 3.987 seconds behind Brack. Bruno Junqueira dealt with a first-lap foible to take third, earning second in the season-long point standings and $500,000. Of 19 starters, 14 were running at the close, all on the lead lap.
"I'm really happy for the team, for Chip [team owner Ganassi], Target and myself. I had a fantastic time today and I must say, this track does CART justice," Brack exulted. "It's super to drive on." Da Matta noted, "The result is not what I wanted, but I have to thank the crew for that final pit stop," which allowed him to secure second place. "I tried to challenge for the win." Junqueira was glad to take second place in the standings. "We had a great stop at the end of the race, just when we needed it," he said.
Patrick Carpentier finished 4th in the #32 Team Player's Reynard/Ford, just edging Dario Franchitti in his final drive of the #27 Team KOOL Green Lola/Honda. Carpentier got 3rd in points, while Franchitti earned 4th place for the year. On a beautifully sunny late afternoon, with air temperatures in the mid-60s there were only two caution periods and five retirements. A pit fire in the #10 Pioneer/WorldCom Lola/Honda bay of Tony Kanaan, who led the most laps, relegated him to 8th place, one behind the #44 Target Lola/Toyota of Scott Dixon. Jimmy Vasser took 11th in the #8 Shell Lola/Ford, while first-time driver Andre Lotterer earned a point for 12th in Dale Coyne's #29 J.A.G. Sports Lola/Ford.
In the final points tally, da Matta has first place (and is second to Alex Zanardi in single season points scored), Junqueira owns second, Carpentier is third, Franchitti fourth, Christian Fittipaldi 5th (after retiring the #11 Lilly Lola/Toyota with engine woes in the rare air of Mexico City), Jimmy Vasser earned 6th after finishing 11th, Brack 7th, Alex Tagliani eighth, Michael Andretti 9th in the #39 Motorola Lola/Honda. Tenth place for the season went to Michel Jourdain Jr. and the #9 Gigante Lola/Ford, earning points paying finishes in all but the penultimate race.
Lola Cars would like to thank all of the 16 Champ Car drivers and their teams for helping us attain our first CART constructor's title. We look forward to #2 in 2003.