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Tagliani fit and focused at Sebring

January 23, 2002


Alex Tagliani in his 2002 Reynard/Ford

Sebring, Florida, January 23, 2002 - Team Player's continued to make major strides in its off-season testing program as driver Alex Tagliani was among the quickest during a two-day session completed Wednesday on the 1.72-mile Sebring road course. 

It was the first testing session of the new year for Tagliani, who clocked a fast lap of 51.1 seconds, shaving almost one second off his time on the same Sebring course last month. Tagliani put in 140 laps over the two days, including 78 on Wednesday. 

"I'm absolutely delighted by the way everything went over the last two days," said Tagliani. "I was looking forward to getting back on the race track. I've been doing quite a bit of training since the holidays and I could sense, as soon as I got into the car, that I was fitter and stronger and ready to go back to work. The car was awesome, and it's great to see the progress Team Player's is making with every testing session."

Both days of the testing session were run under ideal weather conditions, although Wednesday produced the faster times because the temperature was about 15 degrees warmer than the 70 degrees F registered on Tuesday. Several drivers from other CART teams were on the track with Tagliani during the two days, including Michael Andretti, Kenny Bräck, Cristiano da Matta, Jimmy Vasser and Scott Dixon.

Team Player's used both the 2001 and 2002 cars on the first day of testing but on Wednesday it ran only the new model, which Team Player's Technical Director Bruce Ashmore said is much improved over the 2001 edition. Team Player's Technical Advisor Tony Cicale was also on hand for both of the sessions.

"At the beginning of testing, progress was a bit slow as we dealt with the new-car blues," remarked Ashmore. "But today's session was a very good day; things went very smoothly. Overall, the sessions were extremely productive. We were able to work on brakes, dampers, engine mapping to suit the 34-inch boost, and we did lots of work with the Ford engineers."

Commenting on Tagliani's performance, Ashmore said: "He arrived fit and focused and he gave us some real good feedback on what the 2002 car is doing and what we need to work on. I'm pleased with the team's progress. Our testing is right on schedule."

Tagliani's teammate Patrick Carpentier takes to the track in Homestead, Florida, for his first testing session of 2002 on January 30-31. Carpentier has spent the last two days at HPI (High Performance International), an annual visit he makes to the centre for physical fitness tests.

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