CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Bridgestone Saturday qualifying report

Da Matta does pole magic again, this time on streets of Toronto Cristiano da Matta continued his tear in the FedEx Championship Series today, collecting his third pole position in the last four races. Driving the Newman/Haas Racing Havoline ...

Da Matta does pole magic again, this time on streets of Toronto

Cristiano da Matta continued his tear in the FedEx Championship Series today, collecting his third pole position in the last four races. Driving the Newman/Haas Racing Havoline Toyota/Lola on Bridgestone tires, da Matta's fastest lap (58.135 seconds/108.678 mph) secured his first career pole on a temporary street circuit after winning the previous two on permanent road courses (Laguna Seca and Portland).

Late in today's qualifying session, Canadian favorite Paul Tracy, in the Team Kool Green Honda/Lola/Bridgestone, briefly took the pole from da Matta, the provisional pole sitter from Friday. Da Matta reclaimed the top spot on his next lap, however, and held on by 0.037 of a second over Tracy. Da Matta wasn't even aware of the drama taking place, though.

"I ask the team not to tell me anything that is going on (by radio) because I might lose concentration, I might lose focus," said da Matta. "I was just pushing as hard as I could and, of course, the car is working really well. The peak performance of the Bridgestone tires was very good, which helped me get the pole today. It's a very tight field compared to the previous races that I was on pole. The margin now is very, very small so it is going to be a tough race."

Da Matta will attempt to tie a CART record Sunday by winning his fourth consecutive race. All 18 cars in the starting grid are equipped with Bridgestone Potenza racing radials. Bridgestone joined FedEx series competition this season and is the Official Tire of CART.

Page Mader, Senior Project Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport:

"Congratulations to Cristiano and his Newman/Haas crew. That group certainly has things figured out at the moment, including how to get maximum performance from their Bridgestone tires. Still, the top eight qualifiers are separated by less than half a second, so it's by no means going to be a runaway tomorrow. We look forward to another exciting Toronto race and crowning the first Bridgestone winner of a CART race in Canada."

Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 114 to 118 degrees track and a constant 85 degrees ambient (F); Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 46 to 48 degrees track and a constant 29 degrees ambient (C).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy , Cristiano da Matta