Monterey, California, October 12, 2001 The Friday practice sessions on the Laguna Seca road course in preparation for the CART series Grand Prix of Monterey were more a test of patience for Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex...
Monterey, California, October 12, 2001 The Friday practice sessions on the Laguna Seca road course in preparation for the CART series Grand Prix of Monterey were more a test of patience for Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani as both drivers experienced a frustrating day.
Carpentier broke a half-shaft on his primary car and went out with the backup with three minutes left in the afternoon session. He managed to put in a fast lap on his next-to-last turn around the 2.238-mile course and that lap vaulted him into 12th place for the session. Combined with his morning-session run of 1 minute, 9.884 seconds (115.288 miles per hour) his fastest lap of the day Carpentier was eighth overall and finished as the top Ford-engine driver.
Tagliani, who struggled with understeer and a lack of mechanical grip, also reverted to his backup car about halfway through the afternoon session. He wasn't able to improve on his morning quick lap of 1:11.015 (113.452 mph) and wound up 24th in combined times.
Brazilian teammates Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran dominated the sessions, with Castroneves clocking the fastest lap in 1:08.838, about a half-second quicker than de Ferran.
"This afternoon, when I put my first new set of tires on the primary car, I missed the braking point at one place and that affected my time on a hot lap," said Carpentier. "Getting grip was a problem throughout most of the afternoon. I think the problem might be in the dampers, but we'll know more tonight when Team Player's checks everything out.
"By the time I went out with the backup car there was only three minutes left to break in the new brakes, so it was tough to move up the leader board. It was a lot warmer in the afternoon session, and there weren't too many who were able to improve on their times. But the drivers who did pushed us down the board a bit."
Tagliani, who has been bothered by a sore right forearm since last weekend in Houston, had a cortisone shot on Friday morning. He said the tender arm didn't hamper his driving and was not a factor in his performance.
"The balance on the car is good but I don't have the right set-up just yet," explained Tagliani. We tried a few changes during the afternoon session but we still had too much understeer and that caused the car to be loose in the corners. We changed springs and a few other things but that didn't make any difference. I think the problem might be the dampers, like it seems to be with Pat's car."
Both Team Player's drivers expressed confidence that the Team Player's crew will be able to solve the problem for Saturday's qualifying session. The two drivers will be in the fast group of qualifiers, seeking a position near the front of the grid, an important factor on a track where passing is limited and where no driver higher than sixth on the grid has gone on to win the race.
Racing fans can follow the progress of Team Player's throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on The Sports Network starting at 4:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.
<pre> WEEKEND SCHEDULE
Local time Eastern time
Saturday, Oct. 13 CART practice 10:00 a.m. 11:15 a.m. 1:00 p.m. 2:15 p.m. CART qualifying 1:45 p.m. 2:15 p.m. 4:45 p.m. 5:15 p.m. CART qualifying 2:30 p.m. 3:00 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 14 CART warm-up 9:00 a.m. 9:30 p.m. noon 12:30 p.m. CART race 1:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.