Tracy provisional pole in Mexico. Monterrey, Mexico, March 21, 2003 Following up on his victory in the Champ Car World Series season opener in St. Petersburg last month, Paul Tracy of Team Player's took the provisional pole Friday in the first...
Tracy provisional pole in Mexico.
Monterrey, Mexico, March 21, 2003 Following up on his victory in the Champ Car World Series season opener in St. Petersburg last month, Paul Tracy of Team Player's took the provisional pole Friday in the first qualifying session for the Monterrey Grand Prix.
Tracy dominated two of the day's three practice session and then turned in a fast qualifying lap of 1 minute, 17.220 seconds (98.089 mph / 157.859 km/h) to guarantee himself a front-row starting position for Sunday's 85-lap race on the 2.104-mile road course.
In the closing minutes of qualifying, Patrick Carpentier of Team Player's (1:17.391) momentarily moved into second position behind Tracy before dropping to third when Spain's Oriol Servia clocked a lap that was a scant 18 thousandths of a second faster. Canadian Alex Tagliani was seventh quickest in 1:17.555. The top 10 drivers were separated by a mere seven-tenths of a second.
"I was actually surprised that my time stood up and I kept the pole," said Tracy, who clocked his quickest lap in the 13th minute of the 40-minute qualifying session. "After I did the quick lap, Team Player's made some changes to the car for my second set of tires. I went out with six minutes to go and the car felt better, but I was unable to improve.
"It's great to get the provisional pole. We have a lock on the front row, and the team will have less pressure tomorrow. Everything is working out fine with Team Player's. With the arrival of (former engineer) Todd Malloy, along with (Team Player's technical adviser) Tony Cicale being here, as well, I feel real comfortable."
Carpentier ran only a handful of laps in the morning practice, as Team Player's made some tweaks to his Champ Car. But Carpentier saved his best laps for when it counted in qualifying. After Servia topped him for second on the leader board on Servia's last lap, Carpentier was on a run that seemed destined to restore at least his second-place standing.
"I could have bettered my time, but I was stuck behind a car, and the front end was lifting on the long bends," explained Carpentier. "But considering that we ran such few laps this morning, I'm happy with third place. We're on the right track, and with Paul on the provisional pole, Team Player's looks very good at this point."
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the 85-lap Monterrey Grand Prix throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on the The Sports Network starting with a pre-race program at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.