Team Players Drivers Finish 5TH And 7TH In Season Opener Tagliani and Carpentier overcome race challenges to earn championship points Monterrey, Mexico, March 10, 2002 - Despite enduring a series of unprecedented challenges, Team Player's...
Team Players Drivers Finish 5TH And 7TH In Season Opener
Tagliani and Carpentier overcome race challenges to earn championship points
Monterrey, Mexico, March 10, 2002 - Despite enduring a series of unprecedented challenges, Team Player's drivers Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier held on to earn championship points after posting fifth and seventh place finishes respectively at today's CART FedEx Championship season opener in Monterrey, Mexico.
Brazilian Cristiano da Matta earned his second consecutive victory at the Monterrey track, cruising to the checkered flag a mere 1.679 seconds ahead of Scotsman Dario Franchitti. Da Matta's teammate, Christian Fittipaldi followed to round out the top three.
Tagliani earned 10 championship points for his fifth place finish and was pleased with his performance despite having hopes of earning his first career CART victory grounded when a hydraulics failure of his pit equipment cost him valuable time during his first pit stop of the race.
The Team Player's driver, who made some exciting passes on both Dario Franchitti and polesitter Adrian Fernandez to take the race lead, came into the pits on Lap 27, but found himself delayed in the pit box as the airjack used to raise his car during pit stops failed to engage. His crew was forced to scramble and use a hand-operated jack to lift the Ford Reynard for the tire change.
"We definitely lost time," shrugged Tagliani, "but the Team Players guys did a great job of compensating for the problem. While the delay cost me the lead, and we had to play catch up, I'm just really happy to finish in the points. We didn't have the fastest car out there today and this track is tough on tires and transmissions so I have to say I'm pleased with the result. Its important to accumulate points and we achieved that."
Tagliani's teammate Carpentier faced his own tests today when a radio miscommunication caused him to stay out on the track one lap too many prior to his pit stop. The communication error caused him to be black flagged by the race steward and assessed a drive through penalty.
"Part of our strategy was for me to come in early on Lap 4 in order to pit out of sequence," said Carpentier. "With the new rules I was supposed to come in 27 laps later at the latest, but I ended up running 28 laps before coming in. It was a miscommunication and its too bad, but I'm happy with the race result. Friday and Saturday were tough, but today the guys made some good changes to the car and it was real fast. After such an up and down weekend I have to say that it was a really fun race and I enjoyed mixing it up out there. It was a good day."
Round 2 of the CART FedEx Championship will be run through the streets of Long Beach, California on April 14.