CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland Player's Racing Friday Report

Portland, Oregon, June 23, 2000 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier primed himself for Sunday's FedEx CART Championship race by covering the 1.967-mile Portland International Raceway permanent road course in 58.993 seconds (120.157 miles per...

Portland, Oregon, June 23, 2000 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier primed himself for Sunday's FedEx CART Championship race by covering the 1.967-mile Portland International Raceway permanent road course in 58.993 seconds (120.157 miles per hour) today, the third-fastest lap on the first day of qualifying.

Carpentier's fast lap was only four-tenths of a second behind provisional pole-sitter Gil de Ferran of Brazil and less than two-tenths from Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi. They were the only three drivers in the 26-driver field to record a fast lap in under 59 seconds.

"I'm very happy with third place," said Carpentier, who has three top-5 finishes in the four races in which he has competed this season. "I really have to credit the great work done by the Player's team in Detroit last weekend to put me into the fastest qualifying group today. The fine job that they did sure paid off today."

Carpentier, who considers the Portland road course as one of his favourites on the CART circuit, lauded the Player's crew for correcting an understeer problem that arose in the morning practice. The adjustments that were made constantly improved the car and produced a set-up that put Carpentier among the provisional-qualifying leaders.

"The Reynard and Ford package is working very well," remarked Carpentier, who has finished in the top 10 the last two years he has raced at Portland.

"We are very quick on the fastest part of the track, but we still need to improve the car because it's pushing a bit in the first six corners and we have problems putting the power down. We still have another session tomorrow, and the Player's team will have everything worked out for the final qualification and we're going to go all out for the pole."

Carpentier's teammate Alex Tagliani clocked the 19th-fastest time (60.997 seconds, 116.209 mph). Tagliani, who is tied for second place in the CART rookie standings, encountered a few difficulties while he was trying to put in fast laps.

"The track was very slippery following the NASCAR session," he explained. "They use a different tire compound and their cars are heavier and they don't lay down rubber at the same places we do, so it was hard to get a good track line. We also had some brake problems during the session and we lost time in the pits bleeding them while the other drivers were running on a set of new tires. The Player's team will sort things out for tomorrow once they check with my teammate's data."

The Team Player's drivers will be on the track for the final qualifying session Saturday afternoon before Round 8 of the series goes on Sunday. In the seven races thus far, there have been seven different winners.

Racing fans can watch the 112-lap Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 live on The Sports Network at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Christian Fittipaldi