Monterey, Calif. -- If Team Target drivers Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian race in Monterrey, Mexico (March 11) as well as they tested in Monterey, Calif., the rookies will be pleased with their first FedEx Series event. The first-year ...
Monterey, Calif. -- If Team Target drivers Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian race in Monterrey, Mexico (March 11) as well as they tested in Monterey, Calif., the rookies will be pleased with their first FedEx Series event. The first-year drivers spent Feb. 12--13 testing at Monterey's Laguna Seca Raceway, completing more than 350 miles in unusually cool conditions.
Junqueria and Minassian kept pace with several top CART FedEx Series drivers, including Gil de Ferran, Patrick Carpentier and Helio Castroneves.
"We had a very productive testing session," said Team Target managing director Mike Hull. "There is a positive chemistry between the team and the drivers. We were able to improve our road course package and give our drivers one more taste of the competition they will face this season. The whole team is excited for the first race in Monterrey, and we're confident Bruno and Nicolas are well-prepared."
Minassian logged 175 problem-free miles on Monday in the No. 12 Toyota-Lola, running alongside defending CART champion de Ferran. The Frenchman's Tuesday test, scheduled for 50 miles, was cut short after 25 miles due to an electrical problem.
"Even with the cool weather, this was a fun test, " Minassian said. "This track forces you to concentrate every turn of the tire. I'm pleased with the car and it was good to see we could race with some great drivers. I'm excited about the start of the season, and I think we're ready to step in and compete right away. My crew has done a wonderful job of working with me to create the best set-up for my driving style. I can't wait for Mexico."
Junqueira's No. 4 Toyota-Lola was flawless on Tuesday, allowing the Brazilian to log 180 miles. The 2000 F3000 Series champion kept pace with 14 FedEx Series drivers, while focusing on fine-tuning the Team Target road course package.
"All of our testing sessions have been paying off," Junqueira said. "Nicolas and I are ready to start competing. We've seen several different types of tracks, and have been able to adjust to them. This will be the first CART race on the Mexico track, so the other drivers don't have much of an advantage there. My car is ready, my teammates are ready and I am ready."
Round one of the 2001 CART FedEx Series, the inaugural Monterrey Grand Prix, airs at 4 p.m. Eastern on ABC-TV on Sunday, March 11.