TEAM AUSTRALIA GRAB ANOTHER TOP FIVE START IN CLEVELAND Team Australia's Alex Tagliani continued his impressive qualifying performance for the Aussie Vineyards squad by recording another top five performance at the Champ Car Grand Prix of ...
TEAM AUSTRALIA GRAB ANOTHER TOP FIVE START IN CLEVELAND
Team Australia's Alex Tagliani continued his impressive qualifying performance for the Aussie Vineyards squad by recording another top five performance at the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland today.
"Tag" recorded a fastest lap of 57.836 seconds to be fifth fastest overall -- placing the #15 Aussie Vineyards Lola in a strong position to challenge for a podium position tomorrow.
Australian rookie Marcus Marshall continued to make great strides, improving his time from 1:03.775 in yesterday's opening practice to 59.200 seconds in this afternoon's qualifying session.
Both Team Australia drivers were unlucky not to record even faster times with team telemetry showing both were on significantly quicker laps when the session was red flagged after AJ Allmendinger crashed heavily, bringing the session to an early hault.
Paul Tracy earned the pole position today with a fastest time of 57.419 seconds.
Tomorrow's 97 lap race will feature a unique start with race officials electing to place a cone in the middle of the friont straight entering turn one to narrow the entry to the first turn on the opening lap.
The wide Burke Lakefront Airport front straight is notorious as the scene of an opening lap accident as cars battle five to six wide to gain an advantage on the start.
ALEX TAGLIANI -- CAR #15 - POSITION: 5th / TIME: 57.836 seconds
"We have a really good car and I am extremely happy about that. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time at the finish when the red flag came out -- I was on a flier that probably would have put me P2.
"But for the race tomorrow the car is really strong and I think we have a good shot at it.
"I am going to go down and check out the new safety changes for the start for turn one in the morning but everybody will have to careful as always.
"Team Australia has a good shot at the podium tomorrow. Our boys have worked very hard all weekend and the car does feel very strong."
MARCUS MARSHALL -- CAR #5 - POSITION: 17th / TIME: 59.200 seconds
"I am really starting to come to grips with Cleveland now with its bumps and interesting corners. It was a bit of a struggle at first because I really didn't like how the car was over the bumps.
"The boys softened the car up for the qualifying session and it made a huge difference -- I liked it a lot.
"At the end I was actually up 7/10ths of a second on my fastest lap when the red flag came out. Everybody has their own story however, so you can't worry about that -- just get yourself ready for tomorrow.
"I have a watched a lot of videos of races here so I know where I should place the car in the first turn to keep my nose out of trouble -- hopefully I can make a up a few spots -- there is always a bit of carnage down there."
DERRICK WALKER -- CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA
"We made a lot of changes going into qualifying even though we had a pretty good car because we knew we had to find more.
"We just kept at it all day to try to find the grip that we needed and if it wasn't for the red flag at the finish, we could have had an even better result.
"Tomorrow is a different deal. This is a very difficult race. Track position is important and fuel consumption is vital as well. There are three stop, so you have to execute those perfectly. It is a tough race to win - it is bumpy, hot and flat out and it will really test everybody to the limit."
CRAIG GORE -- CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA
"That was a very good effort from the guys today. The red flag didn't help us but we will have to set our sights on tomorrow.
"The team is in really good shape after qualifying and I think we are a big chance for another podium. Marcus is starting to build momentum and I am sure he has his sights set on a top ten as well.
"From a business perspective for our team, it is great for us to be here in Cleveland as this part of the US will be a key target market for Aussie Vineyards -- a huge percentage of the US population live on this side of the country."
Warm-Up: Jun 26, 10:00 am (ET -- local) / June 27, 12.00am (AEST)
Race: Jun 26, 2:00 pm (ET -- local) / June 27, 4.00am (AEST)
AUSTRALIAN TELEVISION: The Cleveland round of the Champ Car World Series will be telecast on Network Ten at 1.40am (AEST) on June 28.