Team Players driver Paul Tracy nudged out for provisional pole at Molson Indy Toronto qualifying Toronto, Ontario, July 11, 2003 Paul Tracy of Team Players held the provisional pole right up to the final minutes of Molson Indy...
Team Players driver Paul Tracy nudged out for provisional pole at Molson Indy Toronto qualifying
Toronto, Ontario, July 11, 2003 Paul Tracy of Team Players held the provisional pole right up to the final minutes of Molson Indy Toronto qualifying on Friday, only to have Brazil=92s Bruno Junqueira edge him by three-tenths of a second on the 13th of his 15 allotted laps around the 1.755-mile street circuit.
Overall, it was a respectable day for Canadian drivers competing in this first of three Canadian stops on the Champ Car World Series schedule. In addition to Tracy=92s second-place effort, his teammate Patrick Carpentier was seventh quickest, while Alex Tagliani registered the fifth fastest time. The top seven drivers were separated by less than a second.
Junqueira, who is runner-up to the leading Tracy in the drivers championship, cut the margin to seven points (117-110) with the point he earned for provisional pole. The Brazilian clocked his fastest lap in 59.486 seconds (106.210 miles per hour and 170.928 km/h). Tracy's time and speed were 59.803 and 105.647mph /170.022 km respectively, while Carpentier and Tagliani were seven-tenths and ninth-tenths of a second behind the leader.
Tracy topped the leader board on his first stint, but he spun in turn 9 on one of his later laps, bringing out a red flag. As a result, Tracy had to give up his best lap of the session 59. 667 seconds. Still, he managed to temporarily grab the provisional pole with his 59.803 seconds. Concerned about the threat of rain, however, Team Players decided to have Tracy go out and use his allotted laps before it got too deep and possibly too late - into the session.
"We've been caught before where we've been left with laps that we were unable to use, so this time the strategy was to make sure we used them in case the rain came," explained Tracy. "It didn't exactly work out because this time we weren't running laps at the end, when the track was faster. That's when Bruno did his quick laps. Bruno is quick, but we can beat him if we're out on the track at the same time. The car is very good, and I believe we can put it on the pole."
Timing was also a factor for Carpentier, who acknowledged: "We went out a little too early and got caught in the pits at the end, when the track had more grip." As the qualifying session went on, Carpentier said the car got tougher to handle because of looseness and a soft brake pedal on the dry track.
While seventh fastest was not what Carpentier had hoped to produce for the home crowd, he expressed confidence that Saturday's final qualifying will bring better results. "We know what we have to do to the car to be more competitive," he remarked.
Racing fans can follow Team Players progress at Molson Indy Toronto throughout the three days by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch live on the Global network at 12:30p.m. ET on Sunday.