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Monday, 9 September, 2002, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
Franchitti dreams of home win
Dario Franchitti celebrates after winning the Montreal round of this year's Cart series
Franchitti is aiming for a good showing at home
Highlights of the Rockingham 500 will be shown on Sunday Grandstand at 1430 BST on 15 September.

Scot Dario Franchitti has set his sights on a victory in this weekend's Cart race at the Rockingham oval after admitting that his title hopes are over for another year.

Franchitti says a win at the Northamptonshire track - the only European race in the schedule fo the US-based series - would be the highlight of his year.

Franchitti, who races for Team Green, says that last year's Rockingham event was the first time he had ever experienced the wholehearted support of a home crowd.

The 29-year-old moved to Cart in 1997 after spending his formative years racing in Europe.


I'm really looking forward to hopefully putting on a good show
Dario Franchitti

"Last year was the first time I had experienced anything like that - the support of the whole crowd - it was really special," he said.

"A win anywhere is good, but to do it at Rockingham would be really special."

Franchitti had a disappointing time at the race last year, finishing ninth after two poor pit stops.

He is hoping for much more this year after a late-season run of form briefly gave him a shot at the title.

That chance now seems to evaporated after he was knocked out of the last race at the first corner, leaving him 69 points adrift of championship leader Cristiano da Matta.

But Franchitti believes he can beat Da Matta, of Newman-Haas Racing, at Rockingham.

"It's going to be awesome. I'm really looking forward to hopefully putting on a good show. The main reason we're coming is to win the race," Franchitti said.

Rockingham's first attempt at hosting a Cart event in 2001 came close to farce after water seeped on to the track surface.

Cart cars cannot run on ovals in wet conditions because of the high speeds and the proximity of concrete walls.

The problems caused two days of inaction at the track even though it was not raining - and the race was only run after desperate attempts to dry the track that morning.

But Franchitti believes that Rockingham will be much better prepared this time.

Cristiano da Matta
Da Matta is running away in the championship lead

"They had some problems last year with the 'weepers' - water coming up through the track causing us some problems.

"They've resurfaced the track this year so we're not going to have those problems.

"I'm looking forward to it.

"As a facility, Rockingham is wonderful, the investment that has gone into it.

"It is a finished product now - last year it was still a building site in certain areas, but now it's finished and it's very impressive."

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 ON THIS STORY
Scotland's Dario Franchitti
"It's a good feeling to race at home"
See also:

09 Sep 02 | Motorsport
04 Sep 02 | Motorsport
22 Sep 01 | Motorsport
05 Sep 02 | Motorsport
05 Sep 02 | Motorsport
05 Sep 02 | Motorsport
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