Nazareth, Pennsylvania, May 5, 2001 Changes in track conditions following a light rainfall, coupled with CART's new qualifying procedure based on championship points, have Team Player's drivers sitting at the back of the grid for Sunday's Lehigh...
Nazareth, Pennsylvania, May 5, 2001 Changes in track conditions following a light rainfall, coupled with CART's new qualifying procedure based on championship points, have Team Player's drivers sitting at the back of the grid for Sunday's Lehigh Valley Grand Prix, but the Canadian duo is confident it can make its way up the field to score valuable points in Round 3 of the FedEx Championship Series at the Nazareth Speedway.
Alex Tagliani posted a fast lap of 20.459 seconds around the 0.946-mile tri-oval for an average speed of 166.460 mph. He will start 20th in the field of 25 cars and share the 10th row with Japanese driver Shinji Nakano.
"The car was running well, but we underestimated the change in track temperature," said the sophomore driver. The track was colder and the tire pressure was too low. After I completed my qualifying run, I noticed that the stickers were still on the tires, which means that I never got the tires up to temperature. Nevertheless, I did quite a few long runs during the weekend and I know the car is good in traffic, but it will be important to stay on the lead lap during the race."
His teammate Patrick Carpentier, who still holds the qualifying record at Nazareth (18.419 seconds in 1998), will have to work some magic to weave his way through traffic on race day. He recorded the 22nd-fastest time with a lap of 20.549 seconds (165.731 mph) and will start alongside Alex Zanardi on row 11.
"I had a huge push on the car and the result was a 22nd spot on the grid," said Carpentier. "We couldn't take advantage of the morning session (running only six laps) because of an engine problem on the primary car. We switched to the back-up car and then it started to rain, so it's hard to predict how the car will handle for the race because I didn't have time to do long runs. The new wing configuration will make the car safer on this track, but it's going to be tougher to pass. Still, Team Player's engineers will compare data and I am confident they will come up with a solution to make the car competitive."
Brazilian rookie Bruno Junqueira clinched his first CART pole with a lap of 19.700 seconds for an average speed of 172.873 mph. Sweden's Kenny Brack will make his third straight front row start after posting the second-fastest lap (19.738 sec./172.540 mph), edging Michel Jourdain Jr., who had the best qualifying run of his six-year career with a third-place time of 19.950 seconds.
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Lehigh Valley Grand Prix 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 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.