CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Team Player's Saturday qualifying report

Team Player'S driver carpentier to start from row 4 in 2002 CART season finale. Mexico City, Mexico, November 16, 2002 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier will start from the seventh spot on the grid for the last race of the CART season,...

Team Player'S driver carpentier to start from row 4 in 2002 CART season finale.

Mexico City, Mexico, November 16, 2002 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier will start from the seventh spot on the grid for the last race of the CART season, the Grand Prix Telmex-Gigante, after a series of red flags in final qualifying session Saturday thwarted any attempts to better the pole-winning time set by Brazil's Bruno Junqueira a day earlier. Carpentier's teammate Alex Tagliani is on Row 7 for the 73-lap race on the 2.786-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course.

In winning his fourth pole of the season, Junqueira added another point in the drivers' standings, extending his second-place lead over his closest rival Patrick Carpentier to five points. Second place in the standings carries a prize of $500,000.

"Bruno has been really quick this weekend, but I still have high hopes," said Carpentier, who has made it to the podium in each of the last two races and three of the last four. "I'm certainly not conceding anything. It's a long race and anything can happen. I want to finish the season strongly, so we'll give everything we have and see what happens."

None of the drivers were able to surpass the clocking of 1 minute, 25.941 seconds recorded by Junqueira in Friday qualifying. A red flag with four minutes to go in the session left everyone with enough time for two timed laps. But these laps were curtailed when another red occurred with 40 seconds remaining. The session was subsequently checkered-flagged before the drivers could get in a final flying lap.

"It's a bit disappointing, the way things turned out," said Carpentier, whose fastest lap Saturday was 1:27.322 (114.858 mph / 184.846 km/h). "We needed to have longer runs today, but we were usually in the wrong sequence in trying to get a clear lap, and we were never able to bring the tire temperature up to what it should be. Even when we did, the red would come out and that was it for that fast lap. The track was a bit slower today, maybe because of the rain overnight. And I think people may have waited too long to go out. As a result, there wasn't as much rubber laid down."

Tagliani had a promising start to the session, trimming 5 one-hundredths of a second off his Friday qualifying time by touring the track in 1:27.437 (114.707 mph / 184.603 km/h). But he, too, was affected by the numerous stoppages as the session went on.

"The car set-up seems great, so I have no worries about that going into the race," said Tagliani. "The way it performed today, I'm even more confident than I was yesterday. This track is a bit like Road America, where you have a very long straight at the start, and you never know what can happen. It's a race that's tough on equipment, and car reliability is going to be a big factor."

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix Telemex-Gigante 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 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.

-player's-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani