CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Player's Friday Monterrey notes

Monterrey, Mexico, March 9, 2001 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier clocked the fifth-fastest lap in today's first qualifying session on the new Fundidora Park track, the site of Sunday's opening race of the season in the FedEx CART ...

Monterrey, Mexico, March 9, 2001 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier clocked the fifth-fastest lap in today's first qualifying session on the new Fundidora Park track, the site of Sunday's opening race of the season in the FedEx CART Championship.

Carpentier made it around the 2-mile road course, which was just recently completed, in 1 minute, 19.390 seconds (95.407 miles per hour).

"I'm pleased with the car's performance," said Carpentier. "It was a nightmare for all the drivers in our morning run because the track was so dirty it felt like we were running in the rain. Fortunately, during the long afternoon session, it kept getting better and it changed very quickly." The drivers had a longer afternoon session because the slippery track prompted the cancellation of the morning practice after only 15 minutes.

Carpentier's teammate Alex Tagliani also had a strong qualifying session, although he twice had the misfortune of incidents elsewhere on the track bringing out a red flag, hampering his efforts to put in a fast lap.

"The track is slippery but that's the same for everyone," remarked Tagliani, who recorded a fast lap of 1:21.165, 20th best of the session. "With 20 minutes left in the session, Team Player's went to the backup car to try a different set-up with new rubbers but the session ended prematurely, so we really didn't get a chance to see how that would work out. But definitely the car is better than the results show."


Patrick Carpentier and Alexandre Tagliani. Photo: Paul Strak/Team player's.

Gil de Ferran, the defending CART drivers' champion, posted the fastest lap in today's session, registering a time of 1 minute, 18.581 seconds. Fellow Brazilian Cristiano da Matta was right behind, just over one-tenth of a second off the pace.

"At the end of the session, it was whomever went out last with new tires that would end up with the fastest lap," explained Carpentier. "We went out a bit too early, but things turned out OK. There is room for improvement on the car, but Team Player's knows what to do to make it better."

Carpentier described the Monterrey layout as a "fun track", although it wasn't as fast as he had hoped because the straights are shorter than expected. "But overall," he added, "the promoter did a great job building and designing the course, and it's in a beautiful setting."

Tagliani said he was expecting a faster track but added that Fundidora Park has the feel of a great course. He likened it to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, although the Monterrey configuration has more chicanes.

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix of Monterrey throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on The Sports Network at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday.

-Player's

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Cristiano da Matta