Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, August 18, 2000 Team Player's rookie driver Alex Tagliani delivered his best qualifying performance of the FedEx CART Championship season today when he turned in the fourth-fastest lap in provisional qualifying for ...
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, August 18, 2000 Team Player's rookie driver Alex Tagliani delivered his best qualifying performance of the FedEx CART Championship season today when he turned in the fourth-fastest lap in provisional qualifying for Sunday's Motorola 220 at Road America.
Tagliani was a mere one-tenth of a second off the pole with his performance of 1 minute, 40.482 seconds (145.029 mph).
"The Team Player's objective going into the weekend was to get back into the fast group in qualifying, and today was a big step in that direction," said a beaming Tagliani, who also had a strong outing in the morning practice session, where he recorded the fifth-fastest time. "The car was awesome today. We probably had another three-tenths of a second in the car, but on my fast lap, I made just a slight mistake in the "Carousel".
Tagliani's teammate Patrick Carpentier posted the 17th-quickest time on the 4.048-mile road course that Brazilian Gil de Ferran covered in 1 minute, 40.392 seconds (145.159 miles per hour) to take the provisional pole. American Michael Andretti and Scotland's Dario Franchitti were second and third with fast laps of 1:40.401 and 1:40.477 respectively.
Tagliani said that despite the struggles the team has encountered in road- and street-course qualifying sessions for much of the season, the Team Player's crew has always remained upbeat about finding a solution, and its sense of determination has been a motivating factor.
"I'm really happy that I was able to get this one for the guys because that's what we've been working for at every race, and today's results show that we're making some good progress," added Tagliani, who is seeking his third straight top-10 performance.
Carpentier, who has finished in the top 10 in all five of the road- and street-course events in which he has competed this season, expressed disappointment with his 17th position (1:42.493), but he remained confident that he can rebound from the adversity.
"It's just one of those days that's going to happen once in a while," he remarked. "Things didn't go right today. Basically, there was both oversteer and understeer. There was a lot of push at the front of the car and the wheels were spinning coming out of the corners.
Carpentier added that being in the first group for Saturday's final qualifying session won't have that big an impact because Road America is such a long track.
"In today's qualifying session, we had quite a different set-up than Alex's car in terms of the wings and the springs, so we're going to work with their engineers to see how we can improve the car for tomorrow," stated Carpentier.
Team Player's driver Andrew Bordin, of Woodbridge, Ont., was third in today's CART Toyota Atlantic Championship provisional qualifying session. Bordin is seeking his second pole of the season.
Racing fans can track the progress of Team Player's this weekend by logging on to the web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the Motorola 220 on a tape delay on The Sports Network at 10:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.