Homestead, Florida, March 25, 2000 Team Playerâ€™s driver Alex Tagliani led all rookies today by qualifying on the second row of the grid for Sundayâ€™s Grand Prix of Miami, the opening race of the season in the FedEx CART Championship ...
Homestead, Florida, March 25, 2000 Team Player’s driver Alex Tagliani led all rookies today by qualifying on the second row of the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Miami, the opening race of the season in the FedEx CART Championship series.
Tagliani’s teammate Patrick Carpentier will start from Row 6 on the grid of the 1.5-mile oval. The front row has pole-winner Gil de Ferran and defending CART series champion Juan Montoya.
The Player’s team emerged from the qualifying session well positioned to take aim at its third Grand Prix of Miami victory in the last six years.
Tagliani, who is expected to contend for top-rookie honours in the series, wasted no time in displaying his talents in qualifying for his first race. He recorded a fast lap of 26.114 seconds (207.061 miles per hour) in the Ford Cosworth-powered Player’s Reynard, fourth-fastest of the day. That was 0.032 seconds faster than Sweden’s Kenny Brack, another highly regarded rookie, who had the fifth-best time.
“The car was so good that I could do practically whatever I wanted to do with it,” said Tagliani, who is following in the footsteps of Jacques Villeneuve, Greg Moore and Carpentier, a trio of Team Player’s drivers who shone in their rookie season in CART. “This is a great way to start the season and a great way to thank the Player’s crew for the efforts they put into preparing the car.”
Tagliani said he was poised to put in an even faster time by staying on the gas pedal in corner 1 of his second lap, but he had to lift twice and was never able to pick up speed between corners 3 and 4. “It’s too bad because that would have been a quick one,” he remarked.
While Carpentier had his sights set on getting into the top eight, he had to settle for 12th when the car had a bit too much push, causing him to enter corner 1 a bit too quickly and forcing him to lift and touch the brakes. Although he was slightly disappointed with the results, Carpentier remained optimistic heading into the race.
“The race set-up is great,” he said. “That’s the one we used to post our quickest time on Friday morning. It’s the qualifying set-up that we’ve been having some trouble with. But this is all behind us now, and we’re going to make full use of our warm-up session tomorrow to put the final touch on the Player’s car for the race.”
Racing fans can watch the 150-lap Grand Prix of Miami live on The Sports Network starting at 2 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.