CHAMPCAR/CART: Edmonton: RSPORTS preview

WILSON READY TO DEFEND 2006 WIN; TAGLIANI HOPING FOR BETTER RESULTS IN EDMONTON RSPORTS ready to take over the Canadian Triple Crown Title as racing north of the Boarder wraps up this weekend in Edmonton The RSPORTS team gears up for its final...

WILSON READY TO DEFEND 2006 WIN; TAGLIANI HOPING FOR BETTER RESULTS IN EDMONTON

RSPORTS ready to take over the Canadian Triple Crown Title as racing north of the Boarder wraps up this weekend in Edmonton

The RSPORTS team gears up for its final race in 2007 north of the border on a track that holds high anticipation for top results with drivers Justin Wilson, the defending Edmonton race winner, and Alex Tagliani, a Canadian fan-favorite, this weekend in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Last year's run for Wilson in the #9 CDW Champ Car resulted in a win, marking his first victory in 2006. After two podium finishes this year, the Englishman is looking for his first win in 2007, hoping that it will come this weekend and crown him as the back-to-back Edmonton champion. RSPORTS teammate, Tagliani, driver of the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program car, heads to Edmonton looking for a clean slate on home soil. His last two runs in Canada have resulted in double top-eight results, but the Quebec-native is hoping to finish racing in Canada this season with a higher result - a podium, if not a win - for his Canadian partners and fans.

The 2007 Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton marks the third time that the Champ Cars will take flight on the Edmonton, Alberta, Canada City Centre Airport - Rexall Speedway. This is one-of-two events that Champ Car has on the 2007 schedule contested on temporary tracks laid out on airport runways. Edmonton was perhaps Champ Car's top success story in 2005. The first-year event drew more then 200,000 fans for the three-day event, setting a Champ Car record for a Canadian race. The wide-open track features high speeds, with speeds on the straightaway of the 1.96-mile track exceeding 200 mph, and several turns offer prime overtaking opportunities. The narrowest point on the track is 50-feet wide, while a majority of the track surface is 75-feet wide. This specifically-built FIA road course is one of the most fan-friendly circuits in the Champ Car World Series. 80% of the track can be easily seen from anywhere in the stands, which gave the massive Edmonton crowd a better look at Justin Wilson's 2006 victory.

With both RSPORTS drivers sitting top five in the Champ Car championship standings, together they sit second in the Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown Standings. Wilson and Tagliani, who with their third and eighth positions in Toronto moved up from third to second place with an average finish of 6. The Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown is a team competition pitting teams against each other over the three Canadian events on the 2007 Champ Car schedule. The standings for the Triple Crown are based on the combined average finish for each team over the three races with the winning team receiving a traditional Canadian Inuit Carving along with a variety of Canadian themed rewards.

Fast Facts

* Round 7 of the 2007 Champ Car World Series was contested in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto saw Justin Wilson score his second podium in 2007 with a third-place finish, while Alex Tagliani rounded out a top-eight effort for RSPORTS by finishing the eventful race in the eighth spot.

* Both RSPORTS drivers currently rank in the top five of the 2007 Champ Car World Series championship. Justin Wilson currently sits fourth in the Champ Car 2007 championship standings with a total of 138 points. He trails current leader, Robert Doornbos, by 26 markers. Alex Tagliani currently sits fifth, with a total of 127 points.

* Alex Tagliani, driver of the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Charity Program/RSPORTS Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone, started his Champ Car career in 2000. This season marks his eighth year of competition. He will attempt to make his 125th start this weekend when he takes the Green Flag in Edmonton. He has recorded one win, five poles, and 14 podiums.

* Tagliani's best start this season is fourth, which he has accomplished three times this season after seven events. Tagliani has finished in the top ten in seven events, with his best finish of 4th in Las Vegas.

* Tagliani is looking for a good result this weekend in Edmonton, as it is the last of three races that will be contested in Canada for the Champ Car World Series in 2007. The French-Canadian's best start this season on home soil was sixth, in Toronto. His best and only finishing result in Canada is eighth, in which he earned in Mont-Tremblant and Toronto. He is hoping to finish the Canada Champ Car tour off on a good note, looking for more positive results this weekend.

* Tagliani has not had his share of good luck in Edmonton during his past two starts. In 2006, the Canadian started 11th and finished 12th due to contact. Tagliani tangled with Sebastien Bourdais late in the race, which sent him into the wall. Tagliani was able to reach the pits and his team repaired the front end, allowing Tagliani to finish the race. In 2005, Tagliani had a fair start in the sixth spot, and only lost one position to finish seventh overall.

* There have been seven events up to this point in the 2007 Champ Car World Series and RSPORTS driver Alex Tagliani is the only Champ Car driver this season that has finished every race in the top ten. His best finish of fourth was recorded at Las Vegas.

* Consistency and reliability from the RSPORTS team has seen Alex Tagliani finish 564 out of 566 possible laps this season. He sits second to Will Power, who has been able to log one more lap. Up until Toronto, Tagliani was the only driver to have completed every lap this season.

* Justin Wilson, driver of the #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone, started his Champ Car career in 2004. This season marks his fourth year of competition in the US-based series. In 46 Champ Car starts, Wilson has earned three wins, five poles, and 12 podiums. Wilson was the runner-up in the 2006 Champ Car championship standings, finishing second, and was the 2006 recipient of Champ Car's prestigious Greg Moore Legacy Award that recognizes success and sportsmanship on and off the race track.

* Wilson's best start of the season was the pole in Portland, Oregon, in addition to his most recent front row start in Toronto where he qualified 2nd. The Englishman has qualifying in the top ten in each event this year, and has finished in the top five in five of seven starts. Wilson has earned two podiums (Portland and Toronto) this season.

* The Englishman, Wilson, has started in the top three in both previous Edmonton events. He started third in 2006 and finished first, in 2005 Wilson started on the front row in the second spot, finishing fourth.

* Wilson is the defending race winner, when he took the checkered flag in 2006 for the win in the #9 CDW Champ Car. The race length was 85 laps, 167.705 miles. The margin of Victory for Wilson was 5.319 seconds.

* Wilson is no stranger to leading the Champ Car field at the Finning International Speedway in Edmonton. In 2006, he paced the field twice, from laps 54-60, and then again from laps 65-85. In 2005, Wilson ran four laps up front during laps 49-52.

* During his victory run in 2005, Wilson recorded the fastest Edmonton race lap, posting a time of 59.200 (119.980 mph).

* The back luck that Wilson had when the season kicked-off seems to be wearing away, as Wilson has finished the last four races top five or better. He earned two podium finishes (Portland - 2nd, Toronto, 3rd), a fourth-place result in Cleveland and a fifth-place finish in Mont-Tremblant. Since the last four races, Wilson was sitting 8th in the championship standings, and now has moved up to the fourth spot. He will be one to keep an eye on for the remainder of this season, especially in Edmonton.

Quotes

Alex Tagliani #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"It is good to be going into Edmonton sitting in second for the last race of the Canadian Triple Crown. We had little issues in our first two races in Canada with the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program car, but I think that we realized what our issues were and that we are ready to have a good race this weekend in Edmonton. Hopefully we do not make any mistakes or the same problems that we were having in the past. I think that we should be able to have two competitive RSPORTS cars and hopefully we can walk away from this weekend with the Canadian Triple Crown title. The goal is to just score as many points as we can, as our overall goal is to finish in the Champ Car championship in the top three. We are sitting fifth in the points, and we are not trailing far behind from the leaders, so I think that our goal is attainable. We just have to have some good results in these next couple races, and I think Edmonton is a good place for that to happen. My engineer, Chris Lerch, has been working very hard to improve the car, so we will get out there and fight hard again this weekend. We have had an up and down season, thus far, so something has to change so that we will have our chance to shine in 2007."

Justin Wilson #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"The whole Edmonton track is unique; it is a lot like a big go-kart track with permanent corners like a traditional road circuit. It has lots of quick transitions with short straightaways and high corner speeds. Because it is run on airport runways, there are several payment changes and bumps in the corners. Over the past two years, there has been a great turnout with excited racing fans. The Edmonton fans are great. The crowd reaction last year after I'd done the victory donuts was amazing - definitely the highlight of my season. After a successful and victorious run in 2006, the entire #9 CDW/RSPORTS team and I are looking forward to our Edmonton return to see what we can do with the new Champ Car DP01 this weekend. Hopefully we will have another solid performance."

-credit: rsports

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos , Will Power , Greg Moore