Molson Indy Montreal: A home run for Team Player'S drivers Carpentier And Tagliani Montreal, Quebec, August 22, 2002 - The last time Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani raced on Montreal's Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve both Team Player's drivers ...
Molson Indy Montreal: A home run for Team Player'S drivers Carpentier And Tagliani
Montreal, Quebec, August 22, 2002 - The last time Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani raced on Montreal's Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve both Team Player's drivers produced victories in front of their enthusiastic home fans. The victories - by Carpentier in 1996 and Tagliani in 1999 - came while they were competing in the Atlantic series, and this Sunday the two Team Player's drivers get the chance to duplicate the feat in the first-ever Molson Indy Montreal, the last of three Canadian events on the 19-race FedEx CART Championship schedule.
Eight of 18 drivers in the CART series have some previous experience racing on Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, which is also the venue for the annual Canadian Grand Prix in Formula One and the site for a number of support series events, such as Atlantic. When the CART drivers take to the track on Sunday for the 80-lap event, the 2.71-mile Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve will become the first track to play host to an F1 and CART race in the same season.
While Carpentier and Tagliani were born and raised in Montreal suburbs that are less than an hour's drive from Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, neither Team Player's driver believes they have a "home-track" advantage heading into Sunday's race, which is Round 13 in the series.
"When I started in the CART series in 2000, there were a lot of tracks that I hadn't raced on before, and it took me about 10 practice laps to get used to these new tracks," said Tagliani, who earned his second podium finish of the season last Sunday, taking second place on the Road America circuit.
Added Carpentier: "The CART series is so competitive that it doesn't take long to get adjusted to a certain track. Usually, there isn't much of a gap between the first and 15th driver. In qualifying, sometimes if you're two-tenths slower, you can slide from first to eighth in a hurry. In a series that competitive, making adjustments and finding proper set-ups is extremely important. At Team Player's, we feel that we have a good set-up for Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.
Tagliani noted that "Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve has some stretches that are like a permanent road course and then you suddenly find the car in between walls, so it's almost like a street course. I believe the track is going to get quite slippery and it will be interesting to see how much grip the tires are going to have."
Team Player's is entering its "home" race on a roll. Carpentier, who was in ninth place in the drivers' standings heading into Cleveland on July 14, has climbed into second place, on the strength of race wins - Cleveland and Mid-Ohio - in two of the last four races. Carpentier's 101 points already equal the career-best, single-season ouput he produced in 2000.Tagliani, meanwhile, has collected points in each of his last eight races - matching his career-best streak - and is just 21 points out of second place in the drivers' standings.
"The key is to be able to put together a string of race wins and podium finishes," remarked Carpentier. "There are still a lot of points out there and you have to pick up some big-paying points every race if you want to maintain championship aspirations. Montreal is our home race but you have to treat it as just another race, one where you have to perform well. I don't feel any extra pressure. I know I'm going to enjoy this whole race week in Montreal, but once you're out on the track your focus is on every straight and every turn."
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 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.