Portland, Oregon, June 22, 2001 Team Player's drivers Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier clocked the 9th and 14th fastest laps respectively in Friday's practice session on the 1.989-mile permanent road course at the Portland International...
Portland, Oregon, June 22, 2001 Team Player's drivers Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier clocked the 9th and 14th fastest laps respectively in Friday's practice session on the 1.989-mile permanent road course at the Portland International Raceway in preparation for Round 8 of the FedEx CART Championship on Sunday. Both drivers were able to improve their times from the morning run, as the work conducted between sessions by the Team Player's crew was productive.
Tagliani arrived in Portland with a car that was virtually rebuilt after last Sunday's race in Detroit, where extensive damage had occurred as a result of contact with a tire barrier.
"The guys put in a great deal of work repairing the car, and they did a tremendous job," said Tagliani, who rewarded the crew by picking up the tab for supper on Thursday night. "Today, the improvements that the guys made to the car between sessions really showed in the handling in the afternoon run. We managed to cut two-tenths of a second off our time, and it might have been more but when this track gets hot, as it did in the second session, it's a little slower."
Tagliani, who put in his fastest lap (58.821 seconds, 120.508 mph) in the final three minutes of the session, added: The car still has a bit of understeer when I'm in the middle of a slow corner (in third gear), but it's handling really well in the fast corners. We just have to find the right balance between the two for qualifying." Tagliani will have to sit out eight minutes of the qualifying session as a result of an incident that brought out the red flag in the Detroit qualifying run last week.
Carpentier will be in the faster qualifying group on Saturday, a seeding that he earned by virtue of his being the fastest qualifier of the Group 1 drivers in Detroit last week. In Friday's practice laps on the Portland circuit, Carpentier improved from 25th fastest in the morning to 11th best in the afternoon.
"We ran pretty well this afternoon, and I'm quite pleased with the car, especially since we did not use any new tires during the session because Team Player's wants to save them for the race," explained Carpentier, after recording a fast lap of 59.223 seconds (119.690 mph). "We worked on the set-ups and improved the car quite a bit, but there's still room for improvement on the front grip. The curves are much longer here than on a street course where you can throw the car around the corners."
Brazilian drivers Helio Castroneves and Christian Fittipaldi recorded the fastest practice laps in the Friday session. Castroneves lapped the road circuit in 58.318 seconds (121.547 mph), while Fittipaldi registered 58.532 (121.103).
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 at 4 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.