MARSHALL GETS FIRST TOP 10 START Team Australia's Marcus Marshall has recorded his best ever Champ Car qualifying result during his first outing on a super speedway at Las Vegas Motor Speedway today -- the venue for tomorrow's Hurricane Relief...
MARSHALL GETS FIRST TOP 10 START
Team Australia's Marcus Marshall has recorded his best ever Champ Car qualifying result during his first outing on a super speedway at Las Vegas Motor Speedway today -- the venue for tomorrow's Hurricane Relief Champ Car 400.
Marshall, from Queensland's Gold Coast, was second-fastest in the early afternoon rookie session and was eighth-fastest in official practice for the entire field and then qualified 10th.
He set a time of 26.974 seconds at an average speed of 200.193mph (322.178kph) in his Aussie Vineyards Lola -- about 35kph faster than he has ever been before in a race car -- to claim a row-five starting spot.
The result was Marshall's best qualifying since starting 14th in the opening round of the season at Long Beach California back in April.
Marshall's Team Australia team mate Alex Tagliani was 13th fastest with a time of 27.026 seconds at an average speed of 199.808mph (321.928kph).
Tagliani's crew changed engines between practice and qualifying, chasing what was perceived as a "power" shortage, but the move did not create any more speed.
The result was only the second time in 11 rounds this year that Tagliani has qualified outside the top seven in what has been an impressive season for the Canadian.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY----
ALEX TAGLIANI - #15 AUSSIE VINEYARDS TEAM AUSTRALIA LOLA
"The guys did a great job between sessions to put in a new engine, but it seems that was not the problem with our lack of speed," said Tagliani.
"We just have no pace. We can change a few small things overnight, but I am not sure how much we can do.
"I am holding it flat the whole way and guys are pulling away from me and that's not a good feeling.
"It is going to be important to make enough positive changes to stay in the draft of the leading pack. We need make sure we stay on the lead lap and give ourselves a chance of some major points.
"Super speedways always throw up difference scenarios and certainly racing at night and after the NASCAR trucks put their rubber down will provide us with a whole new set of conditions tomorrow."
MARCUS MARSHALL - #5 AUSSIE VINEYARDS TEAM AUSTRALIA LOLA
"The team has done a great job to give me a quick car straight out of the box," said Marshall
"The super speedway is definitely an interesting experience. I travelled probably close to 35km faster today than I have been before in a race car.
"You really have to grit your teeth and go for it. I thought I would enjoy it because I have been quick on the faster-flowing stuff this year. It's just the more technical bits which have caught me out.
"I have struggled in qualifying this year, so to be in the top 10 is obviously pleasing. We just need to make sure we now convert it in the race. I am sure it is going to be a lot different deal with 17 other cars around me in the race tomorrow."
DERRICK WALKER -- CO-OWNER TEAM AUSTRALIA
"Marcus was comfortable in the car from the opening session and he managed to build his attack on qualifying," said Walker.
"We did battle with fuel pressure problems which did not help us.
"Alex cannot get the acceleration out of the corners he needs to do a decent lap time and we will need to tweak a few things overnight."
CRAIG GORE -- CO-OWNER TEAM AUSTRALIA
"This is my first time to a super speedway and there is no doubt that they provide a whole different scenario and atmosphere," said Gore.
"Marcus did a solid job to clinch his first top 10 start. There is no doubt that Alex is struggling with a lack of speed, but I am sure Derrick and team will be working overtime from now until race time to get him back in the game.
"As usual, I can proudly say that Team Australia is the best presented team in pit lane and we are creating plenty of interest, despite not being on the front row. It is amazing how many people just come up to us and start talking about Australia and our Gold Coast race."