CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston: RSPORTS preview

HOUSTON, Texas (April 18, 2007) -- Justin Wilson and Alex Tagliani both carry a top-five finish from Long Beach as they head to Houston with the RSPORTS team in preparation for this weekend's Grand Prix of Houston at JAGFlo Speedway at Reliant ...

HOUSTON, Texas (April 18, 2007) -- Justin Wilson and Alex Tagliani both carry a top-five finish from Long Beach as they head to Houston with the RSPORTS team in preparation for this weekend's Grand Prix of Houston at JAGFlo Speedway at Reliant Park.

As the RSPORTS team wrapped up their weekend in Long Beach, they continue to go strong heading straight to Houston, Texas for Round Three of the Champ Car World Series. The flat out string of three races back-to-back-to-back in 2007 make for a strenuous effort, but the RSPORTS team proves that the busy schedule is not wearing them down, but rather giving them the strength they need to compete at the front in the Champ Car World Series. Solidly running both drivers in the top five this weekend only goes to show what this RSPORTS team is capable of.

The Grand Prix of Houston will be contested on a temporary 1.7-mile temporary street course in Houston's 345-acre Reliant Park. The course will wrap around landmarks such as Reliant Stadium and the historic Reliant Astrodome before finishing in front of Reliant Arena. The circuit includes fast straights and hairpin turns that will optimize the experience for the fans and drivers alike.

Fast Facts

- Alex Tagliani, driver of the #8 LXN2 Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone, returns to Houston with a new team, new number, and a new look. Running with RSPORTS for 2007, Tagliani's return to the Gentilozzi operation marks familiar territory with a whole new outlook for the eight-year Champ Car veteran in terms of fighting for the Vanderbilt Cup. Currently, Tagliani sits second in the championship standings, with 44 points -- only 15 points behind championship leader Will Power.

- Tagliani's debut in Houston last season started off with a sixth place position on the grid. He finished 11th overall in the first-running of the Grand Prix of Houston, as contact ended his day early. On Lap 88, Tagliani and Oriol Servia tangled in Turn One as Servia tried to make a pass on the inside of the chicane. Sitting in fourth place at the time of the incident, Tagliani was able to continue, although there were concerns about possible suspension damage. That damage became all too apparent as Tagliani ended his night deep into the Turn Three tire barrier.

- Tagliani has finished in the top five in the first two events this season. Las Vegas -- fourth place, Long Beach -- fifth place.

- Justin Wilson will pilot the #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone this weekend in Houston. The familiar face and race car return to the streets of downtown Houston after making their debut in 2006. Wilson started seventh on the grid, and rounded out a top-five result by finishing fifth in the inaugural event last year.

- Wilson recorded the fifth fastest lap time of the race last year, posting a time of 1:01.003 on his seventh lap of the 2006 Grand Prix of Houston.

- A great weekend for Wilson in Long Beach with a fourth place finish put him back on track this season. He now sits seventh in the Champ Car World Series championship with a total of 30 points.

Quotes

Alex Tagliani #8 LXN2/Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone
"With everything that happened so late in the off-season, we felt that the most important thing is to get out of the first three races in the best possible position that we could. I feel that we are fulfilling our goal with two solid top-five finishes. However, I was a little disappointed in Long Beach, during those last two laps when I lost a podium finish because we couldn't defend our position without Cosworth Power-to-Pass and because we were lacking grip. But I am excited to go to Houston. The RSPORTS boys are doing a fantastic job on the #8 LXN2 Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone. It is going to be important to end the first three races at the beginning of the season as strong as we can. I feel that we have a shot at winning the race this weekend, with our consistency of running up front during the last two events. I think that we are only getting stronger and that even better results for RSPORTS are on their way.

The Houston track is pretty challenging for the drivers physically and for the team. It is a track that is tough on the race cars, so it will be interesting to see how they perform this weekend. So far we have had no major issues with the new DP01, but this track is going to put the new car in a situation where it has to be very reliable. It is an interesting track, and I look forward to racing on it again this weekend."

Justin Wilson #9 CDW/Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone
"I feel that we excelled in Houston last year. I hope that we can be even stronger here in the #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone this year, and get a better result after a fifth place finish in 2006. I think that what we learned in Long Beach will help us continue to excel this weekend and give us a good race car in Houston.

The track is very bumpy, and at times last year it was hard to see. I hear that they have made some improvements to the track for this year so it should be even nicer to drive on. But it is a great course, a great location, and I look forward to getting back there and racing hard!"

-credit: rsports

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Oriol Servia