A tough day in Portland for Tiago Monteiro. Portland, OR (Saturday, June 21, 2003) -- The old saying "when it rains, it pours" certainly applies to the trials and tribulations of the Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing team at this weekend's G.I. Joe 200...
A tough day in Portland for Tiago Monteiro.
Portland, OR (Saturday, June 21, 2003) -- The old saying "when it rains, it pours" certainly applies to the trials and tribulations of the Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing team at this weekend's G.I. Joe 200 in Portland, OR. The weather has been nice one minute, rainy the next, challenging the engineers and crew in the efforts to get the perfect set up on the #7 entry. To top things off, the car suffered a gearbox failure on the first lap of today's final qualifying session necessitating the use of yesterday's provisional times and placing the car 17th on tomorrow's grid. While the crew was able to do an incredible job fixing the gearbox, the rains came just as Tiago hit the backside of the track on his warm up lap. The team brought him back into the pits with just under 20 minutes left in the session hoping for the skies to clear, but it just wasn't in the cards today.
As expected, the team and the young rookie driver were disappointed with the day's results. "Some days are just like this," Tiago said, "when it's not meant to be, it just doesn't happen. The gearbox broke on the first lap out. The guys did an amazing job changing it in around 12 minutes; really incredible. At that point things looked good. We had about 20 minutes left and it looked like we were going to have the track to ourselves as a lot of the field had already used their laps trying to beat the rain. But, like I said, it wasn't meant to be; as soon as we went out, the rain started. Obviously I'm disappointed as I felt we could easily have improved on yesterday's time. I think the set up we have will work well for the race. It's going to be another run from the back to the front, but I think we can still do well tomorrow."
Team owner Emerson Fittipaldi was also frustrated with the final outcome of the day. "I'm disappointed," he said. "When we got the car fixed, the rain started. The crew did a good job solving the problem and getting the car ready to go back out for a quick lap. The car was definitely faster than yesterday and Tiago was happy with it, so we should have a good race tomorrow."
The G.I. Joe's 200, round eight of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, celebrates it's 20th anniversary of Champ Car racing with this weekend's event. The 1.969-mile permanent road course, with its 11 turns and Festival Curves, will provide a challenge for the drivers, the engineers and their crews and an entertaining show for the fans. The race will air live tomorrow, June 22, on CBS at 3:30 pm ET.