Team Player'S drivers Carpentier and Tagliani encounter some bumps in the road at Molson Indy Montreal/ Montreal, Quebec, August 23, 2002 The homecoming for Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani was very warm from a fan perspective but rough...
Team Player'S drivers Carpentier and Tagliani encounter some bumps in the road at Molson Indy Montreal/
Montreal, Quebec, August 23, 2002 The homecoming for Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani was very warm from a fan perspective but rough from a racing standpoint on Friday as the two Team Player's drivers had to settle for the 9th and 18th fastest times respectively in the first qualifying session for Sunday's Molson Indy Montreal.
An impressive crowd, on hand to support Carpentier and Tagliani, who grew up in Montreal suburbs not far from Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, packed the grandstands for the Fed Ex CART Championship's first-ever event in Montreal. They witnessed a provisional qualifying session that was topped by Brazil's Cristiano da Matta, the series' leader in the point standings, who toured the 2.71-mile road course in 1 minute, 19.465 seconds (122.726 mph/197.508 km/h). New Zealand's Scott Dixon and Sweden's Kenny Bräck were three and four-tenths of a second back respectively.
Carpentier put in some respectable laps early in the session on his first set of tires. When he returned to the track after getting a new set, he ran into problems with the traction control device and the pop-up valve. As a result, he was unable to improve on the time of 1 minute, 20.504 seconds that he had recorded earlier.
"This wasn't the place that I wanted these things to happen," said Carpentier. "Overall, I felt that the car was quite good. In the morning practice, we were fifth and things were going well. Even this afternoon, the car was handling the track well and seemed to be well balanced, but with the problems that came up we were, unfortunately, unable to put in a good lap on it."
Tagliani, among the fastest of the first few drivers who went out in the opening minutes of qualifying, was on a pace to shave about two-tenths from that time when the car hit a bump, the front brakes locked and Tagliani slid off course into the tire barrier. The incident brought out a red flag and, under CART regulations, his fastest time was nullified. Tagliani sat briefly in the back-up car but never took the track to try to improve his 18th-place standing.
"The car really reacted strangely when it went over the bump," explained Tagliani. "The front brakes locked real quickly. There was nothing I could do. When I got out of the car, I checked the ground to see whether there was an oil spot and I looked to see whether there was something with the brakes, but there was nothing.
"It's disappointing because I felt that as the session went on, Team Player's had a car that could get into the top 5 today. We just have to hope that the good weather will hold for Saturday's qualifying, so we can have the chance to make some big improvements on our time."
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix at Molson Indy Montreal throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on Global at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.