Champ Car post-qualifying press conference: An interview with Paul Tracy, Oriol Servia and Patrick Carpentier Eric Mauk: Thank you for joining us for our top three qualifying process from the first round of qualifying for the Tecate/Telmex ...
Champ Car post-qualifying press conference: An interview with Paul Tracy, Oriol Servia and Patrick Carpentier
Eric Mauk: Thank you for joining us for our top three qualifying process from the first round of qualifying for the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix, round two of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. We are joined by the top three qualifiers from today's session.
We'll start with the third place runner, Patrick Carpentier, driver of the #32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, who grabs the third position on the provisional grid with a lap of 1:17.391 seconds, 97.872 miles per hour, to take the third spot. Patrick qualified 17th here a year being he climbed 10 spots to finish seventh in that race. Patrick, kind of a rough session for you. A little off, a little on. You posted some good laps and finished third. Tell us a little bit about your day.
Patrick Carpentier: Not too bad. I'm pretty happy actually because we didn't get much of a chance to run this morning. We had some problems and we had to skip the second session, only did a few laps. Coming back this afternoon it didn't seem to go too well early on in qualifying. It was all over the place. Everywhere there was grass, I was there, except on the asphalt. I finally got it together and put a lap at the end. We're pretty happy actually starting from where we started. We had a good lap going, but I got in the back of Mario Dominguez at the end and couldn't do the last couple of corners. But still, third place, we're pretty happy.
Eric Mauk: A lot of guys went out at a lot of different times. A lot of guys out early for a change. Was there much problem getting a clear lap today?
Carpentier: I think it was for everybody. Oriol kept slowing down, trying to get a clear track. Oriol kept getting in back of me. But it was the same for everybody. Paul kept getting in the back of (Patrick) Lemarie. It was just difficult to put a time in. Everybody was trying. Everybody was trying to go towards the end, trying to find a gap. It's tough, but it's the same for everybody.
Mauk: Our second place qualifier, Oriol Servia, driver of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. Oriol had the second best lap of the day, with a time of 1:17.378, 97.895 miles per hour, a time that will give the Spaniard his best ever Champ Car starting spot if he can follow it up in tomorrow's final qualifying. Congratulations, Oriol. Tell us about your session.
Oriol Servia: Well, like Patrick said, it was a little bit of a nightmare. It was impossible to get a clear lap. Every time I had a lap, Patrick would slow down and I couldn't finish the lap. Always the last turn, too. So it was a little bit frustrating. You know, we got lucky that we got a clear lap at the end. There was only one, but it counted. It was a little bit slower than Paul. Obviously, he feels lot better. He has the front row sealed. That's a big bonus. I think we had a good car all day. We had a good car in St. Pete, in Sebring. You know, we'll see tomorrow. But I think we are in definitely good shape.
Mauk: Now we'll talk to our provisional polesitter, also our championship leader, Paul Tracy, driver of the #3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, in the top spot with a lap of 1:17.220 seconds, 98.089 miles per hour, 1.7 seconds faster than the pole time from a year ago. It gives Paul a championship point for leading qualifying, boosting his total to 22 and giving him a six-point lead in the standings. Paul, tell us about your day.
Paul Tracy: It was a good day for Team Player's to be first and third on the grid on the first day. I'm very happy that we were able to put it on the provisional pole. I had a good first run on the first set of tires when I did the time, then we made a couple changes. We felt we got the car better. Then the second I had a good set of tires, we went out and I was just held up with traffic the whole time, wasn't able to get a lap together. I didn't feel we were going to be able to hang on to that position, but obviously we did. I think we'll need to improve tomorrow. Like Oriol said, we're locked into the front row and we got a point. We can sit and wait a little bit, wait for the right opportunity. Takes a little bit of pressure off.
Mauk: You posted that quick lap on only your third lap. Like you said, a few guys went out early, and you were among them. Talk about the strategy of going out early today.
Tracy: Well, it just seemed I went out of the pits, I had two warm-up laps, I did it on the first full lap. After that, I was never able to get another lap again. I think it went that way for everybody. There were a lot of cars on the track. A lot of guys were trying hard. It's difficult out there. You know, the competition level is tough. To get the right lap is not easy sometimes. But we'll have to try a little bit harder tomorrow and see if we can improve.
Mauk: We'll go ahead and open it up to questions from the media.
Q: Paul, you were faster than last year. First day of practice, no traction control. What would you attribute this to?
Tracy: I think the Ford is a great engine. You know, the tires are good, obviously. I think everybody is running the same cars, so everybody's got the car developed more from last year. They're a little bit quicker than they were at the beginning of last year. It goes to show. Everybody was saying, "Oh, these cars, they're not going to be as fast as the old cars," blah blah blah. Here we're a second quicker than we were last year. I think the formula for the series is good that CART has chosen. No complaints from my end.
Q: What about the condition of the track? This has always been a slick track. What's it like today?
Tracy: It's still slippery, but it's improving. I think overall the track was much -- I think if you look at it, it's becoming to look more like a permanent facility than a temporary facility. You know, seems like every year we come here, it just seems to get more and more natural, I guess. The grass is set more. Before the grass was getting ripped up out of the ground, things like that. Now everything is kind of more set in place. I think the facility is good. I think it's a track that's challenging. There's all kinds of different corners. It's a difficult track to get the complete lap right.