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Monday, 7 October, 2002, 07:40 GMT 08:40 UK
Da Matta claims Cart crown
Da Matta is the fourth Brazilian to claim the series
Da Matta is the fourth Brazilian to claim the series

Brazil's Cristiano da Matta clinched the Cart championship on Sunday, winning the Grand Prix of the Americas and collecting a $1m title bonus in Miami.

Da Matta held off Christian Fittipaldi by 0.734 seconds to grab his seventh victory this season and the 11th of his career.

The win extended his lead to an insurmountable 69 points over Bruno Junqueira, who finished fifth.

"It's unbelievable. I didn't expect to get it right here in Miami," Said Da Matta. "It just feels great. I can't explain. It feels awesome."


Cristiano won the championship - he deserves it
Bruno Junqueira

Junqueira needed to finish at least fourth to maintain any chance of winning the championship.

"Cristiano won the championship. He deserves it," said Junqueira.

"Even if I finished fourth, the championship was almost gone. Cristiano did a very good job."

Da Matta started sixth but took the lead after early leader Tony Kanaan was penalised for blocking Scott Dixon on the 20th lap.

Da Matta joins an elite group of drivers
Da Matta joins an elite group of drivers
Kanaan was able to retain the lead briefly, before race officials issued the blocking penalty and sent him to the back.

"We had a good run on him and got practically beside him," said Dixon.

"He just turned right and the corner was another 50 yards away. It's just so obvious and pretty blatant."

"This team deserves this title more than anybody," said Da Matta. "They did a great job for me all year."

Da Matta's victory means a Brazilian-born driver has won the Cart series for the third consecutive year and for the fourth time overall.

Gil de Ferran won the Cart title in 2000 and 2001, and Emerson Fittipaldi was the series champion in 1989.


Miami results

1 Cristiano da Matta, Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone, 105
2 Christian Fittipaldi, Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone, 105
3 Jimmy Vasser, Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, 105
4 Alex Tagliani, Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone, 105
5 Bruno Junqueira, Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone, 105
6 Michel Jourdain Jr, Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, 104
7 Adrian Fernandez, Honda/Lola/Bridgestone, 104
8 Michael Andretti, Honda/Lola/Bridgestone, 103, contact
9 Tony Kanaan, Honda/Lola/Bridgestone, 103, contact
10 Dario Franchitti, Honda/Lola/Bridgestone, 103
11 Mario Dominguez, Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, 99
12 Paul Tracy, Honda/Lola/Bridgestone, 98, contact
13 Kenny Brack, Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone, 70, gearbox
14 Shinji Nakano, Honda/Lola/Bridgestone, 66, fire
15 Tora Takagi, Toyota/Reynard/Bridgestone, 39, mechanical
16 Patrick Carpentier, Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone, 34, contact
17 Oriol Servia, Toyota/Reynard/Bridgestone, 29, mechanical
18 Scott Dixon, Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone, 19, contact

Points standings

Da Matta 212
Junqueira 143
Franchitti 129
Carpentier 115
Fittipaldi 114
Jourdain 102
Tagliani 95
Andretti 90
Vasser 90
Tracy 87

See also:

05 Oct 02 | Motorsport
Links to more Motorsport stories are at the foot of the page.


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