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Da Matta sets Aussie street mark

©Associated Press
October 27, 2002

SURFERS PARADISE, Australia -- Cristiano da Matta had some bad news for the rest of the CART drivers in today's Honda Indy 300.

"My car is very competitive for the race tomorrow," he said Saturday.

Da Matta knows how a top car should feel. He already has clinched the CART championship on the strength of a series-leading seven victories in 16 starts.

He has the pole for the race after breaking the course record by more than 1.3 seconds.

Da Matta, the defending champion, shared the front row with Bruno Junqueira, a fellow Brazilian.

Junqueira is having a productive second season on the CART circuit. He has three poles and two wins. He finished 21st last year here on the city street course.

Da Matta won, leading 16 of 65 laps and beating Michael Andretti by 5.7 seconds.

* * *

NHRA NATIONALS: Bruce Sarver led Funny Car qualifying for the sixth time in his career, topping the field in Las Vegas.

Sarver set a track elapsed-time record with his quarter-mile run of 4.773 seconds at 317.12 mph.

Doug Herbert, Kurt Johnson and Matt Hines also led their divisions in the 22nd of 23 events this season.

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