CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Team Australia preview

AUSSIE VINEYARDS SQUAD SPEADS WINGS IN CLEVELAND The Team Australia champ car team has its sights set on a smooth landing at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport this weekend as team sponsor Aussie Vineyards flies fly high over the East coast of...

AUSSIE VINEYARDS SQUAD SPEADS WINGS IN CLEVELAND

The Team Australia champ car team has its sights set on a smooth landing at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport this weekend as team sponsor Aussie Vineyards flies fly high over the East coast of the United States.

One of the most unique races on the Champ Car World Series Calendar, the Cleveland event will be the first East Coast race for the Aussie Vineyards team.

The East Coast is a key market sector to be targeted by Aussie Vineyards with its wine export business. More than 48% of the US population of 296,428,626 lives in the Eastern time zone -- one of four zones across the US mainland.

Alex Tagliani grabbed his best ever Cleveland result last year, qualifying fifth fastest and finishing on the podium in third place. The Canadian star grabbed Team Australia's first ever podium in Monterrey, Mexico earlier this year in round two of the championship.

"Tag" has become an adopted Aussie after marrying his Australian wife, Bronte.

Australian rookie Marcus Marshall continues his learning process as he tackles his fifth new circuit in the championship. This weekend will also be Marshall's first back-to-back event after finishing 14th in last weekend's race across the other side of the country in Portland.

Marshall, Tagliani and Team Australia will face a Canadian double-header after Cleveland with a race in Toronto on July 10, followed by the new Edmonton event on July 17.

WHAT IS AUSSIE VINEYARDS/TEAM AUSTRALIA? Australia will again play host to the Champ Car World Series on the streets of Surfers Paradise for the Lexmark Indy 300 from October 20-23. This year will be the first year in the event's history that a full-time Australian team will compete for glory on home soil.

Team Australia is a new Champ Car entry created for 2005 by veteran team owner Derrick Walker and Australian businessmen Craig Gore and John Fish.

The team will contest the championship with major sponsorship from Aussie Vineyards, a new Queensland company established by Gore and Fish to export Australian wine into the US market.

The pair is looking to use the program as a tool for other Australian businesses also wishing to market their products and services into the US.

ALEX TAGLIANI #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia

"After last weekend's engine problems at Portland I am looking forward to getting back on track in Cleveland," said Tagliani.

"The venue has been good to me, especially last year when I finished on the podium.

"I think the only time I have been out of the top 10 was in my first race in 2000.

"I think Aussie Vineyards Team Australia is developing more every race and is starting to get more out of the Lola chassis which most of the team is working with for the first time.

"Our qualifying this season has been solid considering we are only four races old as a team and I am confident we can turn that into results with a bit of luck on our side in Cleveland."

MARCUS MARSHALL #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia

"I will certainly be looking at the video tape this week and studying it pretty hard," said Marshall.

"I have seen the race on TV and it is quite open and fast, but I will definitely be having a closer look before I arrive in town.

"I actually want to arrive at least a day earlier so I can walk the track a few times and really become familiar with it.

"I have plenty of data to look at after last weekend's race in Portland, which probably should have produced a better result than 14th.

"I might also have the chance to drop into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and check out some great Australian inductees including AC/DC.

"As one of their famed songs says -- 'It's a long way to the top if you want to Rock and Roll'."

DERRICK WALKER -- CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA

"We are looking forward to Cleveland because it is such a great event and Alex has had some strong result here in the past. We should start with a pretty good set up from our past experience combined with what Alex knows about the Lola.

"For Marcus it will be another event at a race track which he will like driving at -- it is a lot of fun.

"Our road course set up has been very strong and we will be looking to build on that this weekend."

CRAIG GORE -- CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA

"I am looking forward to this weekend because it will be our first race on the East coast of the US for Team Australia.

"This is an enormous potential market for Aussie Vineyards and our other Australian sponsors so I am hopeful we will be able to kick off on the East coast with a strong result.

"Alex was pretty unlucky at the last race with an engine problem after qualifying really well and Marcus will be looking to further improve. The breaks haven't been going his way so far, but I am certain a good result and bit of luck will really kick start his season.'

-team aus-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Marcus Marshall