CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver: Newman/Haas Racing raceday report

Da Matta and Fittipaldi retired from Molson Vancouver with drive train failure. 12th Cristiano da Matta (polesitter) 13th Christian Fittipaldi (fastest in warm-up) CRISTIANO DA MATTA, ...

Da Matta and Fittipaldi retired from Molson Vancouver with drive train failure.

12th Cristiano da Matta (polesitter)
13th Christian Fittipaldi (fastest in warm-up)

CRISTIANO DA MATTA, #6 Chevron Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone: "It's disappointing that we dropped out of another race while leading but those things happen in a season with so many races. It's just math. My car was very, very good on the first stint but it wasn't as good on the second stint, which was pretty short, because we came back in under the yellow. The third stint wasn't as good as the first one either but it was okay. With the strategy that he was running, there was no way that Paul was going to beat me because he would have had to be 28 seconds ahead of me to pit and get back on track ahead of me and he was only seconds ahead. We really needed to build on our points and we had the potential to do so. I was going into turn six and the car just slowed down. I went through the gears from fist to fifth and it would go into gear smoothly but there was no power. I got out of the car and it was just what I imagined - the drive shaft. It's unusual that both cars dropped out with the same problem at the same time. It might be an indication that we're doing something wrong. We need to check why this happened and not let it happen again. It is important to build a lead in case things like this happen. It gives us a little chance to correct any problems before we loose too many positions (in the Championship)."

* NOTES: Da Matta has won seven of past 12 CART events dating back to his first three-peat (Australia and Fontana in 2001 and Mexico in 2002) where he became the first driver to accomplish the feat since Juan Montoya (1999). After leading 30 laps and building a strong lead in Long Beach, a pit accident derailed his bid for a CART record-tying fourth consecutive win. Wins in Laguna Seca, Portland, Chicago and Toronto enabled him to tie two others (Unser, Jr., and Zanardi) with a CART record fourth consecutive win although he failed to score a fifth consecutive win in Cleveland after being sidelined with mechanical failure after leading the first 19 laps from pole. Will be his fourth CHAMP CAR race here. Led 3 laps in 2001 but finished 20th after being forced to enter a "closed" pit or risk running out of fuel while leading. Once back on track, he was given a drive-through penalty then came into contact with a backmarker while attempting to pass him and finished 20th. Finished 7th in 2000 after running in third until he had to pit for fuel with only five laps to go; finished fifth in 1999 after starting 17th. Clinched the Indy Lights Championship here in 1997 and 1998. He is currently leading the standings with a total of 122 points.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Lilly Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone: (On accident at the start:) "I understood that there was contact on the start of the race when I came by for the first time but I think it happened behind me. It would have been a decent race for us. We got by Tony on the first stop but had a bad second stop right after that under the caution and lost two spots. One of the guys lost a lug nut. We definitely had a top-three, top-four car but we failed to score any points again but we'll have to turn the page and try again in Mid-Ohio."

* NOTES: Was his seventh event here. Prior to today's race his highest finish was 3rd in 1996 and highest start was 6th in 2000. Finished 11th in 2001 despite utilizing a strategy that should have led to a fourth place finish but was effected by the timing of yellow flags; finished 4th in 2000; was unable to compete in 1999; finished 14th in 1998 due to contact late in the race with Hearn while running 6th; finished 9th in 1997 because of contact on the last lap after running 5th; finished 3rd in 1996 after starting 14th; and finished 24th in 1995 as a result of exhaust failure.

-nhr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Cristiano da Matta