CART rookies Alex Tagliani and Takuya Kurosawa wrote themselves into the record books at Long Beach on Sunday, in only their second Champcar event.

Players-Forsythe driver Tagliani became the first rookie since 1988 to score on both his first two events, following his ninth place at homestead by just missing the podium in the Long Beach street race. The last man to achieve the feat was Scott Atchison - who could not match Tagliani's results - while Briton Nigel Mansell's claim on the record is spoilt by his missing the 1993 Phoenix round through injury. The Newman-Haas pilot scored in four consecutive races in his rookie season.

Kurosawa became the first Japanese driver to lead an event, despite following on from a stream of countrymen in the sport. The Dale Coyne pilot led seven laps at the Beach as others made their final pit-stops, and was only deprived of his front-running slot when eventual winner Paul Tracy muscled his way through.

Having gained track position first through an inspired pit call from team boss Coyne, and then by ducking into pit-lane when Max Papis hit the wall, it was ironic than an accident with Michel Jourdain Jr - in which the Japanese was an innocent victim - should finally put an end to his event, as he clipped the wall and broke his suspension.

''I was unlucky,'' he said in broken English, ''The crew did a good job. It was my first time in a street race. I enjoy.''



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