Team Player's in the thick of Molson Indy Montreal battle as drivers Carpentier and Tracy line up on rows 3 and 4. Montreal, Quebec, August 23, 2003 Team Player's drivers Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier both held the pole for a brief time in...
Team Player's in the thick of Molson Indy Montreal battle as drivers Carpentier and Tracy line up on rows 3 and 4.
Montreal, Quebec, August 23, 2003 Team Player's drivers Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier both held the pole for a brief time in Saturday's final qualifying session for Molson Indy Montreal, but it was fellow Canadian Alex Tagliani who eventually clocked the fastest lap to earn the No. 1 spot on the grid for Sunday's Champ Car World Series race.
Tracy, the leader in the drivers' championship, grabbed the pole in the early minutes of the session, but struggled with car stability in the braking zones and wound up with the eighth quickest time (1 minute, 20.015 seconds, 121.882 mph, 196.150 km/h). Carpentier, who had the pole until Tagliani put up a lap of 1:19.665 about midway through the session, endured extensive brake wear from encountering heavy traffic and had to settle for fifth place on the grid, despite being a scant 14 one-hundredths of a second (1:19.810) off the pole.
Saturday's qualifying session on the cool but sun-splashed 2.709 Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve was the most competitive of the season, with Tagliani taking his fifth career pole by a miniscule 6 one-thousandths of a second over Brazil's Bruno Junqueira. Both of these times were almost a tenth better than Oriol Servia, who has the other front-row spot by virtue of his provisional pole on Friday. The top six drivers were separated by less than two-tenths.
"Some days are going to be tougher than others," said Tracy, who is seeking a sweep of the three Canadian races, after winning in his hometown Toronto and Vancouver. "Today, we just couldn't put it all together. We know it can't be perfect every weekend, so now we're going to have to fight to get a good result. The key is to be patient and try to finish the race ahead of Bruno." Junqueira, Tracy's closest competitor in the drivers' standings, trails by 20 points.
Tracy said he was able to put in some fast laps on old tires, but the car became unstable when Team Player's put on stickers. "The car was also nervous under braking and jumping around," he added. "We couldn't brake as effectively as we wanted to, so we were losing about a tenth in every braking zone."
For Carpentier, the fifth fastest time erased the disappointment that he and his hometown fans endured on Friday, when engine difficulties in pre-qualifying practice, prevented him from having even one qualifying run.
"I was hoping to make one last shot for the pole today, but the brakes were finished," remarked Carpentier. "Considering that we didn't run yesterday, fifth is good. I found a gap in the traffic and managed a very good time with my first set of tires. The car was still very good on the second set of tires, but I was caught in traffic. All the stop-and-go trying to avoid cars destroyed my brakes.
"For the race, Team Player's will modify the brakes' air intake to cool them down. We used bigger ducts today, but I guess they weren't big enough. I look for the race to be like the one in Mid-Ohio (where Tracy and Carpentier were 1-2) pass on the track and pass some more in the pits to get a good result. It should be a good show for the hometown fans."
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at Molson Indy Montreal throughout the weekend (with the added virtual cockpit feature that is a must for telemetry fans) by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on the Global network at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.