VANCOUVER, British Columbia (September 1, 2001) - Native Canadians Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier continued Player's Forsythe Racing's remarkable turnaround Saturday by sweeping the front row for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver before a ...
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (September 1, 2001) - Native Canadians Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier continued Player's Forsythe Racing's remarkable turnaround Saturday by sweeping the front row for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver before a grateful gathering of 51,243 at Concord Pacific Place.
Tagliani (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) captured his second career pole position and Carpentier (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) earned the outside pole during Saturday's qualifying session for the 15th round of the FedEx Championship Series championship. Tagliani's lap of 105.329 miles per hour (1 minute, .872 seconds) on the 1.781-mile temporary street circuit brought him the second pole position of his two-year career and his first on a road or street course.
Tagliani's other pole position came at Rio de Janeiro during his rookie season last year. Carpentier, his teammate, made the day doubly delightful for Canadian fans by earning the second starting position at an average speed of 105.239 mph (1:00.924). The performance equaled a season best established at Texas.
Each of the Player's Forsythe Racing drivers will be looking to continue a recent run of success when the green flag falls 5 p.m. ET Sunday. Tagliani owns the longest active streak of points-paying finishes in the FedEx Championship Series, with seven, dating to a 12th-place effort at Portland.
Carpentier, meanwhile, has scored in four straight events, dating to his first career FedEx Championship Series victory at Michigan International Speedway in July, and owns three podium finishes in that span.
The Player's team's performance is especially impressive in light of the fact that Tagliani went scoreless through six of the first seven events of the 2001 season, while Carpentier went scoreless through the first five. The championship point Tagliani earned for Saturday's pole gave him 50 for the season and tied him with Jimmy Vasser (Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard) for 13th place in the championship. Carpentier enters Sunday's event in eighth place in the championship with 69 points.
Defending FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske qualified third at 105.224 mph (1:00.933). It marked his sixth top-three qualifying effort of the season, and his third in the past six events, including poles Toronto and Mid-Ohio.
De Ferran, who stands third in the championship with 99 points, was followed by the two drivers who stand first and second in the title chase. Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Lola) of Team Rahal qualified fourth at 105.207 mph (1:00.943), while reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard), de Ferran's Marlboro Team Penske teammate, was fifth at 105.112 mph (1:00.998).
Castroneves holds a 110-105 lead over Brack in the championship standings entering Sunday's event.
ALEX TAGLIANI, Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard: "I'm really pleased and honored to be on the pole. I got a little bit emotional there with Mr. [Ric] Moore [father of the late Greg Moore, who presented Tagliani with the Greg Moore Trophy for winning the pole position], but we're racers and want to do the best we can. The blue and white [all Player's Forsythe Racing] front row is fantastic. I'm looking forward to having both of us on the podium, and I don't even care who finishes where. I just want to spray Pat in the face with a lot of champagne. I already got him with cake [on his birthday at Mid-Ohio]."
PATRICK CARPENTIER, Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard: "Qualifying went really well. Yesterday, we had a struggle with the car and had a lot of push. Then we had gearbox problems and had to switch to the backup car, but that's what a team is for. Alex had a fast car yesterday and we exchanged a lot of information, so I was able to get up there. I hit the wall about five times today, but hey, I'm on the front row, so it all worked out. I had to push really hard. CART is so competitive, just look at all the times. On full laps like that to have 15 cars within a few hundredths of a second is unbelievable. I mean, you can't even clap your hands. I just love it."
GIL de FERRAN, Marlboro Team Penske: "It was a little bit frustrating session for us. I wasn't extremely happy with the car in the morning and we made some changes in the car and improved it a little bit, but it wasn't perfect. I had quite a lot of oversteer, and I had some good laps going only to mess it up in one of the last three corners. But it is what it is. That's what qualifying is all about. You need to have a complete lap, and the start/finish line isn't in Turn 9. I just couldn't get it together."
* Alex Tagliani (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) earned the first pole position of his FedEx Championship Series career on a road or street course. His previous qualifying best at a road or street venue was second at Road America two weeks ago. Tagliani's pole was the first for a Player's Forsythe Racing driver on a road or street course since Greg Moore's at Houston in 1998, and he was rewarded with the Greg Moore Pole Award by the Molson Indy Vancouver for his effort.
* Patrick Carpentier's (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) outside pole position represented a career-best qualifying effort in 48 FedEx Championship Series appearances on road or street courses. His previous best was third at Mid-Ohio last month.
* The Player's Forsythe Racing team swept the front row of a FedEx Championship Series event for the first time since 1998 at Milwaukee, where Patrick Carpentier sat on the pole and Greg Moore qualified second.
* By sweeping the top two qualifying positions, the Player's Forsythe Racing team gave Ford its first front-row sweep on a road or street course since Michael Andretti and Bryan Herta qualified first and second, respectively, at Road America in 1998.
* Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) equaled a venue-best qualifying effort of third at Vancouver, established last year. He has started fourth or better in each of his past four FedEx Championship Series appearances on road or street courses, including pole positions at Toronto and Mid-Ohio and fourth at Road America.
* CART and the Shelby Cobra Challenge announced Saturday that they have partnered to bring some of the legendary names of motor racing together to compete in a six-race series to be run in conjunction with the 2002 FedEx Championship Series. The Shelby Cobra Challenge Senior Racing Series will feature such Champ Car legends as Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby and Al Unser, Danny Sullivan, Parnelli Jones and Johnny Rutherford, competing against each other in Ford-powered race cars based on the new Shelby American CSX 4000 Series Cobra. Events are tentatively scheduled at Monterrey, Mexico; Portland, Ore.; Cleveland, Mid-Ohio, Road America and Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. Under terms of the CART-Cobra Challenge agreement, which runs for five years, CART will market and promote the Senior Racing Series, and retains its television rights. "This is a terrific opportunity for CART to help showcase many of open-wheel racing's legendary drivers," said CART Chairman and CEO Joseph Heitzler, who was joined by Shelby Cobra Challenge Founder David Parcell in making the announcement. "Being able to work with the Shelby Cobra Challenge to bring back names like Andretti, Fittipaldi and Unser for North American racing fans is something we are very excited about." Each participating driver will be guaranteed an appearance fee and will compete for a share of $100,000 in prize money at each race, as well as a year-end points fund. "The heritage and tradition of Champ Car racing is very important to the new strategic direction we are taking at CART," said CART Senior Vice President of Marketing Rich Henley. "Having the likes of Mario, Emerson and Danny on-site, recounting not only their racing accomplishments in the Cobras but also their days in Champ Car racing, gives us the ability to bridge the gap between today's terrific CART drivers and those from the past."
Qualifying for the Molson Indy Vancouver will air 1 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2. CART 2Day airs 11 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN, while ESPN2's tape-delayed race broadcast begins 6 p.m. ET. Sunday's race will also air on the CART Radio Network and on CART's official website, at www.cart.com .