CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: Team Australia Friday report

TEAM AUSTRALIA BATTLE THE DENVER CONCRETE Finding grip on the concrete surface that makes up a significant portion of the Denver champ car street circuit proved to be a tough challenge for the Aussie Vineyards-sponsored Team Australia Lolas of...

TEAM AUSTRALIA BATTLE THE DENVER CONCRETE

Finding grip on the concrete surface that makes up a significant portion of the Denver champ car street circuit proved to be a tough challenge for the Aussie Vineyards-sponsored Team Australia Lolas of Alex Tagliani and Marcus Marshall in qualifying today.

While Tagliani celebrated his 100th race in the Champ Car World Series when Team Australia presented him a commemorative cake to mark the occasion before qualifying -- his on track pace was not as sweet, the Canadian stopping the clocks at 61.257 seconds to be 11th fastest.

Team-mate and Aussie rookie Marcus Marshall was a little over 7/10ths of a second slower until the final moments of the session, when he spun into the tires and took off the rear wing.

The penalty for bringing out the red flag unfortunately dropped Marshall to the bottom of the timesheet when he lost his fastest lap.

Despite making several adjustments during practice and qualifying, both Tagliani and Marshall continued to suffer from a lack of grip.

Raced upon the streets surrounding the Pepsi Center - the home of the NBA Denver Nuggets -- the mile high Colorado temporary circuit utilizes local roads as well a parking lot of the basketball stadium. Invesco Field, the home of the NFL Denver Broncos football team, also overlooks the track.

Paul Tracy set the fastest time of the day at 59.759 -- the only driver to break the one minute barrier.

ALEX TAGLIANI -- CAR #15

"We are struggling a little bit right now and the car really isn't good under brakes. The stability of the car isn't as nice as I would like.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us, but it is certainly not impossible to bridge the gap.

"Team Australia has been in this position before and we have bounced back with a good result.

"Some of the other teams have a lot of experience with the Lola at this track and they been on the mark to start with, but the grip levels here take some getting used to.

"There is no grip on the concrete sections of the course -- and concrete makes up a large part of the lap.

"We have a couple of ideas that we can try tomorrow which I am confident will make a difference."

MARCUS MARSHALL -- CAR #5

"A very challenging day for Team Australia. Both Tag and I have found it is pretty tough to try to squeeze a lap out of the car here at Denver.

"The grip levels are very low and we just haven't put our finger on how to make good mechanical grip with the Lola just yet.

"So having no grip from the track surface, and a lack of mechanical grip as well -- really adds up to a very sideways day.

"I have been using a lot of opposite lock -- I reckon the car has looked like it was on a World Rally Championship stage.

"Team Australia is doing their best and we have already made some improvement, but there is more required.

"I lost my fastest lap bringing out the red flag at the end, but I was only 7/10ths behind Tag at that stage. I feel I am getting faster every week and if I was that close to him at a lot of races this year, I would have been in the top ten."

DERRICK WALKER -- CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA

"It certainly hasn't been a good start to the weekend, but it is a reminder that we are still learning a lot about the Lola chassis.

"Each track we go to we start with a clean sheet of paper, and obviously here in Denver we have a bit more work to do.

"The secret is understanding what is going on and why there is a lack of grip -- that is the first step.

"We feel we have a few ideas as to what is happening with the car so I am confident we will be able to improve tomorrow.

"We already have a couple of things planned to change on the set up over night and we will see how that works out in the morning."

CRAIG GORE -- CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA

"It has been a tough day so far, but we probably expected that was going to happen from time to time as Team Australia continues to grow in its debut season in the Champ Car World Series.

"The most important thing is the how the guys bounce back from that and I know that Derrick and the team are working hard to turn that around.

"Tag getting some cake in the face from Bronte was pretty funny. 100 races is a great milestone for him, but I am sure the possibility of getting the champagne and moving into the top five in the championship on Sunday will be far sweeter than the cake."

- Team Australia

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Marcus Marshall