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Carpentier Backs Ex-CART Drivers

Patrick Carpentier has tipped his former Champ Car rivals as favourites to win this weekend's second IRL road course race this weekend, at Infineon Raceway

The Red Bull Cheever Racing driver, who joined the IRL this season after eight years of racing in the Champ Car World Series, reckons that Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves will be the drivers to beat this weekend, because of their road course experience in the series.

Franchitti was the fastest in practice at the series test at Infineon, and this form could lead him to victory this weekend, according to Carpentier.

Carpentier said: "I don't remember who was the fastest there because we only tested the first day for me and I didn't want to pay attention to the times and stuff on the second day. But, no, Franchitti is always right up there.

"He is smooth and very fast on a road course. He always has been. He seems to be even better on a street circuit. But Tony Kanaan is one of the fast guys, too. There's a few other guys in there that I probably forget that I used to race against, including Helio Castroneves, who is also very fast on road course. But these guys I'd say are the top guys."

The Canadian also reckons that former Toyota Formula One test driver Ryan Briscoe will perform well due to his testing pace. Briscoe led the IRL's first road course race at St Petersberg in the closing stages, before an accident with Kanaan forced him to retire.

"Briscoe is one guy that's been very, very fast in testing on road courses. He's been amazingly fast on these types of tracks," Carpentier added.

Carpentier, who has scored two podium finishes this season on the series oval races, reckons that the modified IRL car is more enjoyable to drive on a road course than the Champ Car he was used to.

"Champ Car, for some reason it feels a little bit heavier than the IRL car," he added. "I'd say for me the IRL car is a really fun car to drive on the road course.

"But one thing the Champ Car does well is braking deep. But as far as speed is concerned, it's very similar. The IRL car has good downforce and cornering speed is very fast. It seems a little bit more agile."

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