AUSSIE ROOKIE TAKES FIRST TOP TEN RESULT FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA Aussie Champ Car rookie Marcus Marshall pulled off his first top ten result today with eighth place, right on the tail of team-mate Alex Tagliani the West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix ...
AUSSIE ROOKIE TAKES FIRST TOP TEN RESULT FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA
Aussie Champ Car rookie Marcus Marshall pulled off his first top ten result today with eighth place, right on the tail of team-mate Alex Tagliani the West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix of Edmonton in Canada today.
After a horrendous run of bad luck, Marshall pulled out his best performance of the year to move up 10 spots during the race to grab a solid points finish behind Tagliani who ran 7th in his Aussie Vineyards-backed Lola.
The Gold Coaster was headed for a similar spot in the past two events in Cleveland and Toronto when he was the innocent victim of two crashes late in the race.
Before a crowd of 78,080, Team Australia completed its first ever two-car top ten result. Today's attendance for the first ever race in Edmonton pushed the three day crowd over 200,000.
While Marshall finally broke his run of misfortune, Tagliani wasn't as fortunate today, running short of fuel as he made his second and final pit stop.
The Canadian star made coasted into his pit box with his Ford Cosworth engine silent. The slow pit lane entry and subsequent need to restart the engine pushed Tagliani back to 10th spot after he had run inside the top five all day.
He battled back in the late stages of the race to finish seventh and close to within four points of Jimmy Vasser who holds 6th position in the championship chase after seven rounds.
Team Australia's pit crew recruited four members of the local Edmonton Eskimos Canadian Football League team who actually assisted the team on pit stops. The local stars Steve Charbonea, Singor Mobley, Donny Brady and Mike Bradley assisted the left hand side tire changers - leaning over the wall to remove the use wheel once it had been pulled off the car
Today's action-packed event was won by Sebastien Bourdais ahead of Oriol Servia and Paul Tracy. The race was dominated by pole sitter AJ Allmendinger who suffered the heartbreak of clipping the wall and damaging his suspension with only eight laps remaining.
ALEX TAGLIANI - #15
DIFFERENCE: + 1 lap "I got a great start when a bunch of guys tried to protect the inside and I was able to go around them on the green. I was running comfortably in the top five in the Aussie Vineyards car but on the last lap before my second stop I ran short of fuel and coasted into the pits."
"Luckily I was able to get it back but the slow run down pit lane and having to restart the car really cost a lot of time and dropped me back to 10th. I got back to 7th, but realistically we probably had a 4th placed car today. I'm disappointed but we are still scoring points and the team showed we have the pace to be very competitive. We just have to shake off today and set out sights on San Jose."
"We would have loved to finish higher in front of this fantastic crowd today, the promoter here has done an excellent job and can't wait to come back next year and finish on the podium."
"My extra pit crew guys today from the Edmonton Eskimos did a great job - I certainly couldn't miss them as I drove into the pits, they are so big. They can always be a part of my team whenever they like, but not the other way round - I don't think I would last five minutes on the football field."
MARCUS MARSHALL - #5
DIFFERENCE: + 1 lap "I am really delighted to get to my first top ten for Team Australia - it should have come in Monterrey, should have been in Toronto, but finally I got it done today."
"I have had a bad run of luck, especially in qualifying, but today it all turned around and I had a really good car in the race.
"I was able to push hard all day and I feel really happy for the team and thankful for the support of Craig Gore, John Fish and Derrick Walker - they have really stuck behind me."
"I am sure there are a few people who have doubted me but it is just an experience thing and I will take a lot of confidence from this race onto the next one."
"After breaking the gearbox in qualifying I was really wondering when my luck was going to turn. I have had some bad runs in the past, but the past three races have really topped them all. But that is what Champ Car is all about, it is one of the toughest categories in the world and I know I have to work very hard at it to keep getting results like this and building towards the podium."
DERRICK WALKER - CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA "Marcus worked very hard for this - he had a trouble free race and didn't get punted off by somebody this time. He was able to run his own race and drove hard. He really did an excellent job for the team. It was a well deserved finish for him and the guys. They have all worked so hard and come away without a good result so far, so today was very pleasing."
"We don't know exactly why we ended up a lap short of fuel with Tag's car, but that cost us dearly. We probably left a fourth place finish on the table there when you look back at how it all shaped out. We did manage to turn it around, still made some points and gained some ground in the championship so that was a good fightback."
"I have been around this series for a long and I have to really think back to remember such a successful first up event like this where so many people turned up. The organisers did a fantastic job and the fans certainly got their money's worth today."
CRAIG GORE - CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA "Today was a great result for Marcus. He has been knocking on the door of a top ten for a while and for him I am sure to get that result today is a massive relief because he really has been putting in a lot of effort. It was a really rotten thing what happened to Tag but I am confident that the guys are working hard to try and find out what happened. I am very proud the boys who flew the flag well for Australia today to get two cars in the top ten for the first time - that is an outstanding result for us. The boys really did us proud and I am sure this will only be the first of many two-car top ten results for Team Australia in the future."
AUSTRALIAN TELEVISION: The Edmonton round of the Champ Car World Series will be telecast on Network Ten at 1.40am (AEST) on July 18.
NEXT RACE: Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose, July 29-31, San Jose, California.