LAUSITZ, Germany, Sept. 18, 2001 -- Walker Racing rookie driver Tora Takagi drove the ...
LAUSITZ, Germany, Sept. 18, 2001 -- Walker Racing rookie driver Tora Takagi drove the #5 Pioneer/DENSO Special/Toyota/Reynard Firestone car to a season-best finish of sixth place in Saturday's American Memorial race
Tora started the race in 26th place, as starting positions for the American Memorial were determined based on point standings after Thursday's qualifying was rained out.
The Japanese rookie driver had moved up to sixth place before a late-race accident on the 142nd of 154 laps involving drivers Alex Zanardi and Alex Tagliani forced the race to end under a yellow flag.
"My heart is very heavy after today's race and I could not feel entirely happy about our finish after hearing about Alex (Zanardi)," said Tora. "I would also like to express my sympathy about what happened in the United States this week. It has been a difficult week for everyone.
I would like to thank my team for giving me a great car right out of the box here in Germany from the time we first went on the track. A podium finish was not out of the question for us before the unfortunate accident involving Alex."
Zanardi is in critical but non-life threatening condition at Berlin's Klinikum Berlin-Marzahn hospital after undergoing a procedure that resulted in the traumatic amputation of both legs above the knee.
"It's been a difficult week for everybody," Derrick said. "Especially since we are out of the country, our thoughts and concerns weigh heavily on everyone here. Our wishes go out to the Zanardi family and all of the innocent people affected by the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania."
As a show of support for the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks, Championship Auto Racing Teams, on behalf of its entire community, will make a donation to a designated World Trade Center Relief Fund that is equivalent to the race purse for today's American Memorial event at EuroSpeedway in Lausitz, Germany. The standard purse for a CART event is $500,000 and will be the amount of the donation. The Championship Drivers Association, which consists of the CART drivers, also has exhibited its support of the WTC Relief Fund with a donation of $50,000.
The CART FedEx Championship Series will travel next to Colby, England for the Rockingham 500. The race will be broadcast on ESPN at 1 p.m. (ET) on Sept. 17.