Toronto, Ontario, July 14, 2000 A sudden thunderstorm at the start of todayâ€™s first FedEx CART Championship qualifying session at the Molson Indy Toronto could not have come at a more inopportune moment for Team Playerâ€™s drivers Patrick ...
Toronto, Ontario, July 14, 2000 A sudden thunderstorm at the start of today’s first FedEx CART Championship qualifying session at the Molson Indy Toronto could not have come at a more inopportune moment for Team Player’s drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani.
The first qualifying group, which included the two Canadian drivers, was on the track with wet tires as the 1.755-mile road course was deluged by water. The result was qualifying times that were about 10 seconds slower than the second group, which ran with slicks and qualified under much drier conditions.
Dario Franchitti of Scotland, the Molson Indy Toronto defending champion, took the provisional pole today with a fast lap of 58.877 seconds (107.308 miles per hour), while Colombia’s Juan Montoya, the defending CART drivers’ champion, was second fastest in 58.897 seconds.
“Circumstances put Team Player’s in a tough situation, that’s all there is to it,” said Carpentier, who clocked his fastest lap in 1 minute, 10.212 seconds (89.985 miles per hour), the 18th- best time of the session. “The track never really got dry until the second group was about 15 minutes into its session.
“It’s just plain bad luck that we had to run in the rain while the other group was able to run on slicks and set times that were as quick as the ones in practice this morning. The only thing we can hope for is to run on a dry track for the final qualifying session and give it our best shot.”
Tagliani, who performed well in the morning practice session, battled gamely during the qualifying run, recording a time of 1:11.549 for 22nd place.
“The track conditions were just awful for our group,” he remarked. “I spun the Player’s Reynard while in fifth gear on the straight. There was absolutely no grip at that point. Our performance in the morning session is encouraging, however. We think we have a very good chance of moving up the chart during the final qualifying session tomorrow, as long as the weather holds up for our group.”
Tomorrow’s qualifying session begins at 1:45 p.m. (ET) and racing fans can track the progress of Carpentier and Tagliani by logging on to the web site at www.teamplayers.ca.
Neil Micklewright, Vice-President of Operations for Team Player’s, was also pleased by the performances in today’s morning run.
“Our day had started a lot better than our first practice session at the last race,” Micklewright. “But then the thunderstorm hit and really had an effect on the qualifying results. With the weather as bad as it was, we didn’t have an opportunity to build on the morning practice run.”
Racing fans can watch the 112-lap Molson Indy Toronto live on Global TV at 2:00 p.m. ET) on Sunday.