CHAMPCAR/CART: Montreal: Newman/Haas race quotes/notes

Havoline driver da Matta finished second in Molson Indy Montreal and stretched his lead from 44 points to 55; Lilly driver Fittipaldi finished seventh despite late race gearbox problems. CRISTIANO DA MATTA, ...

Havoline driver da Matta finished second in Molson Indy Montreal and stretched his lead from 44 points to 55; Lilly driver Fittipaldi finished seventh despite late race gearbox problems.

CRISTIANO DA MATTA, #6 Havoline Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone: "At the end of the day, a second place finish looks pretty good for the points. We earned 18 points of 23 maximum for the weekend so it was pretty successful. To win is better but sometimes second place is more important than winning. We are in a position at this point in the season that (winning the) Championship is weighing on our decisions. The team made an engine change before the race and the car ran beautifully so the change might have made a big impact on our scoring another 16 points for finishing second today. We ran a similar strategy that we ran in fuel strategy races last season. Unfortunately it didn't work and we finished second instead of winning. Most other times, at any other point in the race that strategy would have won us the race. Dario ran a good race. I had fun today and the second place is good for the Championship."

· NOTES: This was his eighth front row start of the season and first podium finish other than his wins. He has won EIGHT of past 15 CART events dating back to his first three-peat (Australia and Fontana in 2001 and Mexico in 2002) where he became the first driver to accomplish the feat since Juan Montoya (1999). Led 30 laps in Long Beach and built a strong lead before a pit accident derailed his bid for a CART record-tying fourth consecutive win. Wins in Laguna Seca, Portland, Chicago and Toronto enabled him to tie two others (Unser, Jr., and Zanardi) with a CART record fourth consecutive win although he failed to score a fifth consecutive win in Cleveland after he lead the first 19 laps from pole but retired with mechanical failure. Led 36 laps in Vancouver before a drive shaft failure ended his race. Was in second in Mid-Ohio when he slid off-course and ultimately finished 13th. Will be his first event at the track. He is currently leading the standings with a total of 161 points (55 points over second place).

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Lilly Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone: "The race was looking pretty good after we picked up three places on the start but on the first stop we had a problem on the inside front tire and lost four to five places. We could have finished fourth or fifth but about the last 40 percent of the race, we had gearbox problems so ultimately it's a miracle we finished at all. A seventh place finish looks okay from that standpoint. Fortunately we didn't lose any ground in the Championship and maintained fifth place."

· NOTES: Was as high as third in provisional qualifying before ending in fifth place. Dropped to an 11th place start despite running approx. two-tenths quicker in final qualifying than he ran on Friday. Was his first Champ car race here. Competed in the 1992-1994 Formula One races here. Started 25th and did not finish in 1992; started 17th and finished 9th in 1993; started 16th and finished 6th in 1994 but was disqualified due to being slightly under the minimum weight. He is currently 5th place in the point standings, 63 points back from leader and teammate Cristiano da Matta.

-nhr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Cristiano da Matta