CHAMPCAR/CART: Motegi: Team Player's preview

Team Player's drivers Carpentier and Tagliani are up for the challenge of taming the Twin Ring Motegi oval as CART series shifts to Japan. Motegi, Japan, April 24, 2002 CART teams with Ford-engine cars have won the last four races on the ...

Team Player's drivers Carpentier and Tagliani are up for the challenge of taming the Twin Ring Motegi oval as CART series shifts to Japan.

Motegi, Japan, April 24, 2002 CART teams with Ford-engine cars have won the last four races on the 1.548-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval and Team Player's drivers Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier would like nothing better than to maintain that impressive streak at this year's event, scheduled for Saturday afternoon locally and 11:30 p.m. Eastern time on Friday.

Twin Ring Motegi, which Tagliani describes as a track that is a short-oval, superspeedway hybrid with its tight turns but ultra-fast back straights, has been tough on Team Player's in recent years. However, Tagliani is optimistic that the team's fortunes are about to turn around on the Japanese circuit.

"The testing that Team Player's did at Homestead a few weeks ago somewhat simulated the Motegi Twin Ring, and the results of that session were very positive," remarked Tagliani, who is currently 10th in the drivers' championship. "We've had a fast, reliable car in off-season testing and in our first two races, so there's every reason to believe we can do well on the Motegi oval. I haven't been satisfied with my results (15th, 22nd) the first two times I've raced in Motegi, so there's extra incentive to do well this time. Maybe the third time will be the charm."

Carpentier will be making his fourth appearance at Motegi and he is intent on taming the Twin Ring, which thus far has been a difficult track to solve.

"One of my goals heading into each race is to try to improve on the performance I had the previous year at that particular track," said Carpentier. "Motegi is certainly one of the tracks where I'm looking for some major improvements because in three previous races there I wasn't able to finish. I have a lot of confidence that things are going to go better this time. When Team Player's did some testing for the Motegi race on the Homestead, Florida oval last month, it had the fastest time, and that's a good sign."

Heading into Motegi, Brazilian Cristiano da Matta tops the drivers' standings with 27 points, five more than Michael Andretti of the United States and Mexico's Michel Jourdain, who are tied for second place.

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the 201-lap Bridgestone Potenza 500 throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on The Sports Network at 11:30 p.m. ET on Friday.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain