What to look for at Surfers Paradise: TOYOTA LOOKS FOR SECOND STRAIGHT AUSSIE WIN Toyota will be looking for its second consecutive win Down Under when the Champ Cars take to the streets of Surfers Paradise this weekend. Cristiano da Matta won...
What to look for at Surfers Paradise:
TOYOTA LOOKS FOR SECOND STRAIGHT AUSSIE WIN
Toyota will be looking for its second consecutive win Down Under when the Champ Cars take to the streets of Surfers Paradise this weekend. Cristiano da Matta won last year's event when he passed fellow Toyota driver Roberto Moreno with 14 laps remaining to win his second race of the 2001 season. He also went on to win the season finale the following week at The 500 Presented by Toyota in Fontana, Calif.
TOYOTA EYES 12th WIN IN LAST 19 RACES
In a streak that begun last year in Surfers Paradise, Toyota will be looking to register its 10th win of the season and its 12th in the last 19 Champ Car events this weekend in Australia.
AN AUSSIE-BORN SURFERS WINNER?
Based on his performance at the last two CART street races, Scott Dixon could become the first Australian-born driver to win at Surfers Paradise. The 2001 CART Rookie of the Year finished a close second to teammate Bruno Junqueira at Denver in early September, and he was passing for the lead in Miami before another driver made contact with him to end his day.
STREET COURSE SUCCESS
Toyota-powered drivers have finished 1-2 in each of the last two CART FedEx Championship Series street-course events in Miami (da Matta-Christian Fittipaldi) and Denver (Junqueira-Dixon-da Matta), and they have earned two 1-2-3 podium sweeps in the last four street-course races.
TOYOTA CAN CLINCH MANUFACTURER'S TITLE
With a 46-point lead, Toyota can clinch the 2002 CART Manufacturer's Championship with a victory in Australia. Entering the season's final three races, Toyota needs only 20 combined points to guarantee the Manufacturer's Championship to go along with Cristiano da Matta's Driver's Championship, which was clinched in Miami.
In addition to the Manufacturer's Championship points lead, Toyota also leads all manufacturers in victories (nine), poles (10), front-row starts (16), laps led (1,045 51%), road-course points (215) and oval-trackpoints (72 tied). Toyota-powered drivers Cristiano da Matta and Bruno Junqueira are first and second in the CART Drivers Championship.
DA MATTA'S PLACE IN HISTORY
With seven victories to date, Cristiano da Matta can tie the all-time CART single-season record for wins in a season of eight with a victory this weekend. Al Unser Jr. (1994) and Michael Andretti (1991) currently hold the record. Da Matta's seven victories makes him one of just five drivers to win that many in a season, joining Unser Jr., Andretti, Juan Montoya (1999), and Alex Zanardi (1998). Including two wins at the end of the 2001 season, da Matta has won nine of the last 18 CART races. With six pole positions so far in 2002, da Matta can also tie the single-season mark set by Danny Sullivan in 1988.
MORE DA MATTA Cristiano da Matta's 11 victories with Toyota power are the highest of any driver during the program's seven-year history.
TOYOTA DRIVERS LOOK FOR 1-2-3 FINISH With Cristiano da Matta clinching the championship in Miami, the points fight now turns to a battle for the second and third-place positions. Bruno Junqueira currentlysits second with 143 points, and he can clinch the spot by scoring 55 points during the season's final three races. In addition, Christian Fittipaldi is just 15 points out of third-place in his attempt to make it a Toyota 1-2-3 finish in the Driver's Championship. He is currently in fifth-place, one pointout of fourth. All three drivers are on pace for career-best finishes in the points standings.
Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports: "We ran extremely well at Surfers Paradise last year, and the engine has been very strong on the street courses so far this season, so we have some confidence entering the event. After clinching the title for Cristiano at Miami, now we need to maintain that high level of performance for the rest of the season. We're in a great position for the Manufacturer's Championship, but we can't afford any letdowns at this point."