Back on Canadian Soil, Team Player'S eyes a return to the Molson Indy Toronto podium. Toronto, Ontario, July 4, 2002 Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani began Molson Indy Toronto week by making a bold fashion statement....
Back on Canadian Soil, Team Player'S eyes a return to the Molson Indy Toronto podium.
Toronto, Ontario, July 4, 2002 Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani began Molson Indy Toronto week by making a bold fashion statement. The two drivers are hoping to be just as definitive on the Toronto street course this Sunday, when the FedEx CART Championship makes the first of its three Canadian stops on the 2002 schedule.
The fashion element came into play last Tuesday, when Carpentier and Tagliani were at an event launching the current issue of RAZOR magazine, in which the two Team Player's drivers are featured sporting the latest lines of chic and contemporary clothing. But come Friday, and the first qualifying session of race weekend, it will be back to the racing livery for the Team Player's duo in their first appearance of the season on home soil.
There are plenty of plot lines revolving around this year's Molson Indy Toronto, beginning with Team Player's efforts to get its first-ever race victory in Toronto, after reaching the podium last year with Tagliani's second-place finish. The driver who deprived Team Player's of victory in 2001 is also part of this year's plot line veteran American driver Michael Andretti is seeking his third consecutive Toronto Molson Indy triumph and eighth overall on the 1.755-mile Exhibition Place circuit.
In addition to battling the Andretti mystique in Toronto, the CART field of competitors will have to figure out a way to outperform the red-hot Cristiano da Matta. The Brazilian driver is seeking a record-tying fourth straight win in the series.
Tagliani, who earned his first CART podium with his second-place finish in Toronto last year, acknowledges that the Toronto street course and its tricky first corner will be as tough as ever. But, fresh off a Chicago race that he led for almost 60 laps, Tagliani says he is up for the challenge.
"Getting on the podium last year in Toronto is something I'll never forget, because my family, friends and Canadian racing fans were there to witness it," he remarks. "It was an extremely emotional time, and it was one of the finest moments of my life. Would I like to have that feeling again this year? Absolutely."
While Andretti has dominated Molson Indy Toronto, a Canadian driver has made it to the podium in each of the last two years Paul Tracy in 2000 and Tagliani last year. "I figure that I'm due," declares Carpentier. "It would be fantastic if Toronto is the place where I can get my first podium of the season."
Like his teammate, Carpentier says that the opportunity to race in Canada is an additional source of motivation. "People have asked me quite often whether there's more pressure for Team Player's racing in Canada, but I've never felt that is the case," explains Carpentier. "Sure, we want to do well there, and once qualifying and the race begin, we do what we always do, and that is focusing all our attention on giving our best performance."
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at Molson Indy Toronto throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch live on the Global network starting at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.