CHAMPCAR/CART: Monterrey Firestone post-race report

Firestone Helps Dedicate Monterrey Track with da Matta Victory Cristiano da Matta ran a controlled, mistake-free race to collect his second career Championship Auto Racing Teams victory today. Taking advantage of the consistency and durability...

Firestone Helps Dedicate Monterrey Track with da Matta Victory

Cristiano da Matta ran a controlled, mistake-free race to collect his second career Championship Auto Racing Teams victory today. Taking advantage of the consistency and durability of his Firestone tires, da Matta beat fellow Brazilian Gil de Ferran to the finish line by 1.982 seconds in the 2001 FedEx Championship Series opener. Both of da Matta's triumphs have come on Firestone tires.

De Ferran typified the trust the CART drivers place in their Firestone Firehawk racing radials. He raced the final 55 laps (115.72 miles) on the same set of tires and was still chasing da Matta hard at the conclusion.

"It was a very exciting race in front of one of the most enthusiastic and passionate crowds we've seen in a long time," said Al Speyer, Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Director. "Being a brand new race track, it was a significant challenge for our engineers to select a tire. They did an excellent job and, during the race, wear was just what we typically expect, and the drivers were able to compete strongly against one another. We're very happy to see 1998 Dayton Indy Lights champion Cristiano da Matta take a very well-deserved victory. After the last caution period, which erased nearly a five-second lead, Cristiano was able to pull away again, proving that his Firestone Firehawks were up to the challenge. We know how important this race was to Mexican drivers Adrian Fernandez and Michel Jourdain Jr. and wish they had fared better, but also know it was a very proud day for them to be such a major part of this fantastic new CART race in Monterrey, Mexico. We're looking forward to coming back here next year."

Firestone is beginning its second season as CART's sole tire supplier, even though the series remains open to any competitor. Firestone now has won 75 percent (83 of 110) of the CART races since it joined the series in 1995, including 69 of the last 71 events.

Driver Quotes

Cristiano da Matta, Newman-Haas Racing Toyota/Lola/Firestone: "After working so hard in the off-season testing, it's very, very good to get a payoff this early. We're just going to keep working harder and try to run stronger to the end of the championship. The whole race weekend was very smooth for us and I am just very, very happy."

Paul Tracy, Team Green Honda/Reynard/Firestone: "The car just kept getting better and better. I've got to thank Firestone. The tires were hard but I had great sets of tires for the race and I turned a faster lap in the race than what I qualified. Anytime you can do that in the race it's pretty good." (on going from 15th to ninth on the first lap) "I made a good start. That's my forte, the start. If we keep it going all season, we'll win the championship."

Race temperatures ranged from 85 to 98 degrees track and from 82 to 86 degrees ambient (F).

Race temperatures ranged from 29 to 36 degrees track and from 27 to 30 degrees ambient (C).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain