Title contenders prepare for crucial race

This weekend's Target Grand Prix of Chicago could prove crucial for title contenders Michael Andretti and Roberto Moreno

Title contenders prepare for crucial race

Andretti has leapt into the championship lead after taking a win and a second place in the past two races. By contrast, Moreno's once comfortable advantage has imploded into a 14-point deficit thanks to retirements in both Toronto and Michigan.

However, Moreno is confident that this slump will prove to be nothing more than a temporary hitch in his bid to win the title in his first full season of CART since 1996.

"As in any race for a championship, you are going to have ups and downs during the season," he said. "Hopefully, the Patrick team has had its share of downs. This is a very competitive series. If you are going to fight for the championship, you have to be consistent, take advantage of your opportunities and score points as often as you can. I know that we will be in the championship hunt for the rest of the season."

Andretti remains cautious, despite his current status as the man to beat. He retired after a collision with Paul Tracy in Chicago last season but plans to avoid any such hiccups this year.

"It's great being in the championship lead but if we want to stay here, we have to keep finishing races," he said. "We have had some great races this year and plan to continue the momentum."

His team-mate Christian Fittipaldi has had a less happy time in recent races. He has not finished since finishing third at Portland a month ago, losing potential podium finishes in Cleveland, Toronto and Michigan thanks to gearbox failure, a pit lane collision and an accident respectively. The Brazilian lies a distant 14th in the standings as a result.

"We have been running competitively in the last few races but need to finish them," he admitted. "We were hooked up in Michigan and had a good car but unfortunately we didn't bring it home on track. We are much better than the results show."

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