Pook: Andretti IRL move 'unfortunate'

CART boss Chris Pook has attempted to put a brave face on the latest blow to his championship, the defection of Michael Andretti, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan to the rival Indy Racing League

Pook: Andretti IRL move 'unfortunate'

Andretti, who has bought Team Green, announced yesterday (Tuesday) that he will follow engine supplier Honda to the IRL next season to run a three-car 'super-team'.

With Team Penske's switch to the all-oval series for this year, CART has lost two of its biggest teams in less than 12 months. But Pook is adamant that the future is still bright for Champ Car racing.

He issued a statement, saying: "While it's unfortunate that Andretti Green Racing did not choose to join the current line-up of teams that have recently committed to CART's future, such as Patrick Racing, Newman-Haas, Player's Forsythe Racing, Team Rahal, Fernandez Racing and Walker Racing, this announcement expediates the decision-making process that will allow our current and prospective teams and drivers to finalise their plans for what will be a very exciting and competitive 2003 racing season.

"We will concentrate our focus on growing the CART FedEx Championship Series and cultivating the talented drivers and teams that are coming up through the CART ladder system of driver development.

"In addition, we will continue to build the strength of the series on our successful race venues and the superb quality of our teams."

The six teams Pook named joined him in a press conference in Denver earlier this month to show their support for the series. But a third major team, Chip Ganassi Racing, was not represented. The multiple champion team is likely to follow its engine supplier Toyota to the IRL too.

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