Vancouver, British Columbia, September 1, 2001 Thrilling an ecstatic home crowd, Team Player's put both of its Champ cars on the front row of the starting grid for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver as Alex Tagliani won his second career pole in the...
Vancouver, British Columbia, September 1, 2001 Thrilling an ecstatic home crowd, Team Player's put both of its Champ cars on the front row of the starting grid for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver as Alex Tagliani won his second career pole in the CART series on Saturday and Patrick Carpentier took second, only 5 one-hundredths of a second off the blistering pace set by his teammate.
It is the third time in Team Player's history that its cars will form the front row of the starting grid, although it is the first time the team has done so on a road course. Carpentier and Greg Moore finished 1-2 in qualifying in Milwaukee and Nazareth in 1998. Fittingly, with the fastest qualifying time today, Tagliani won the Greg Moore Pole Award that honours the late Player's driver. Tagliani was presented with the award by Greg's father, Ric.
Tagliani, who was the fastest driver in the combined practice sessions on Friday, continued his mastery of the 1.781-mile False Creek street circuit, shooting to the top of the board with a fast lap of 1 minute, .900 seconds on his sixth tour of the track. After heading into the pits, where Team Player's changed the shocks, Tagliani bettered that mark on his 11th lap with a 1:05.329 (105.329 miles per hour), a time that withstood a late challenge by Carpentier (1:00.924 and 105.239 mph) and Brazil's Gil de Ferran (1:00.933 and 105.224 mph).
"Team Player's is working really hard and I'm trying my best with every lap I put in out there," said Tagliani, whose one point for the pole extends his point-getting streak to eight consecutive races. "I figure the best way to thank the crew and the fans who turn out to support us is to go out and win the pole. When you consider that this season there are 15 cars within a second of each other, getting the pole is important, especially on a track where passing isn't easy."
After running into some early-season adversity, Tagliani said Team Player's is "really strong at this stage of the season." On the prospects for a 1-2 finish in Vancouver one of two Canadian stops by the CART series Tagliani expressed confidence that Team Player's can achieve such a feat. "We've had nine different drivers win races so far this season and I'd like to be No. 10," he remarked. "And I hope Pat is right next to me because all I have left to do is spray him with champagne. After all, I've already got him in the face with a pie for his birthday!"
Carpentier said he pushed so hard in making his way around the short and sometimes narrow street circuit that he brushed the wall about five times "but it worked," he added. "Yesterday, the car had a lot of push, so we went and took a look at Alex's stuff. That's what a team is for, and things are working out really well for Team Player's right now."
Carpentier said the 1-2 qualifying performance could not have happened in a better place than Vancouver because it was achieved in front of Team Player's loyal supporters and the success came on a street course. "At the beginning of the season, if we had said we're going to be on the front row for a street or road-course event, people would have laughed at us, but we have made a lot of progress since the season began."
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 Global Network starting at 5:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.
Localtime Eastern time
Sunday, Sept. 2 CART warm-up 10:00 a.m. 1:00 p.m. CART race 2:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.