Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 30, 2000 Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani led the CART FedEx Championship's Rio 200 for 76 of its 108 laps today before misfortune arose with nine laps to go, putting him out of contention and, subsequently, out of...
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 30, 2000 Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani led the CART FedEx Championship's Rio 200 for 76 of its 108 laps today before misfortune arose with nine laps to go, putting him out of contention and, subsequently, out of the race that was won under caution by Mexico's Adrian Fernandez.
Tagliani's teammate Memo Gidley, who started 11th and ran a strong race gradually moving up to third on lap 58 and second on lap 76 - finished eighth after pitting on lap 77. He collected five points in his second race as a replacement for the injured Patrick Carpentier. In addition to recording a point for winning the pole on Saturday, Tagliani added another point today for leading the most laps. He has 18 points in the drivers' standings, tops among rookie drivers and sixth overall.
Competing in only the third race of his CART career, Tagliani was bearing in on his first victory when his Champ car went into a tailspin after going high on turn 4 on the 100th lap.
"It's really unfortunate," remarked Tagliani. "I felt like the car was losing some grip, then I pushed it a bit too much and ran over some marbles and lost it. I'm really sad for everyone on the Player's team because they gave me a perfect car all weekend and today we were this close to winning. We've been so close so often since the season started. I think we're bound to get it right the next time."
While Tagliani expressed his disappointment at the turn of events that made a winner of Fernandez, who had started 16th on the grid, he maintained his composure and adopted a philosophical approach in handling the adversity.
"It's still pretty early in the season and today was only my third race," he said. "I know there are going to be many other chances for us to get that first win."
Gidley's eighth-place result came in his first-ever CART race on an oval configuration the other 11 races in his CART career had all been on road and street courses.
"I thought we had a very good race," he stated. "We improved from our starting position and we were with the leaders all the way. Player's gave me a great opportunity to race on an oval for the first time. This whole weekend has been a learning process and it will be helpful for my career in the CART series."
The next race in the CART series is on the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval in Japan, May 13.