TEAM AUSTRALIA GRAB PAIR OF TOP TEN RESULTS IN SERIES FINAL The Aussie Vineyards Team Australia squad has completed its debut season in the Champ Car World Series by scoring a pair of top ten finishes in the final round of the 2005 Championship...
TEAM AUSTRALIA GRAB PAIR OF TOP TEN RESULTS IN SERIES FINAL
The Aussie Vineyards Team Australia squad has completed its debut season in the Champ Car World Series by scoring a pair of top ten finishes in the final round of the 2005 Championship in Mexico City today.
Despite suffering from a lack of outright pace, Team Australia's three drivers Alex Tagliani, Will Power and Charles Zwolsman all kept their head as leading rivals including former champ Cristiano da Matta and 2004 & 05 series champion Sebastien Bourdais crashed out.
Tagliani finished 8th today to complete the 2005 championship in 7th place -- equalling his best ever season performance in the Champ Car World Series.
New team-mate, Australian Will Power also impressed to record his first race finish. Power battled back from a poor pit stop to grab 10th place at the chequered flag.
New Toyota Atlantic champion Charles Zwolsman also earned a race finish in his Champ Car debut. Zwolsman made his debut as a reward from Champ Car for winning this year's Atlantic series. The Dutchman made the most progress of any of the Team Australia entries -- moving from 18th on the grid to a 13th place finish.
Today's race was won by Brit Justin Wilson -- his second win of the 2005 season.
ALEX TAGLIANI -- CAR #15
"We were a little bit lucky today to finish where we did but I'm not complaining. It was a great effort from the team to run the Lola chassis for the first time this year.
"Team Australia has shown a lot of potential and we are fighting in the championship with some pretty strong teams and it is definitely not an easy competition.
"This first year was a real learning year. We know we have some work to do on straight line speed and dampers to come on strong in 2006.
"The most important thing for me today was to try to keep out of trouble and that's how we ended up with a solid top ten result."
"Next season starts tomorrow and I am looking forward to working with Will -- I am sure we are going to make a great combination."
WILL POWER -- CAR #5
"It was great to today to get a full race under my belt. The first yellow flag messed up my race a bit because my fuel economy was excellent and I probably could have gone two or three laps further than anybody. My pit stop got a bit messed up as well because I nearly pulled into the wrong Team Australia pit -- it was a bit confusing.
"From then on it was a bit of a struggle because I was stuck in traffic. I had a really good car but getting through the traffic was pretty tough.
"Especially at the end the Aussie Vineyards car was excellent -- it was very strong.
"Looking forward to next year it will be great to enter my first full rookie season with two races already under my belt.
"Today was certainly the longest race I have done in an open wheel car and it was tough at times, but physically I felt really strong at the end."
CHARLES ZWOLSMAN -- CAR #25
"I am definitely pleased to get through to the finish in my first ever Champ Car race. I worked hard in the first two stints to try and save fuel and I made a mistake on my second stop when I came in one lap too early.
"I learnt a lot today -- the race was really good. Physically it was a lot tougher than an Atlantic race, especially when they put on the red Bridgestone tires -- the extra grip made the steering really heavy.
"This is my first ever race with pit stops was it was a great experience for me. I really have to thank Champ Car, the Atlantic series and Team Australia for this opportunity. The guys did a great job for me -- they didn't rush me at all and helped me a great deal throughout the weekend."
DERRICK WALKER -- CO-OWNER TEAM AUSTRALIA
"It has been a fantastic season for our first year as Team Australia. The team did a fantastic job and the drivers drove their heart out all year.
"We ended up with a very respectable first year. We still have a lot to build on for next year but we have at least laid the foundations to continue to move forward. I am very happy.
"Team Australia has a tremendous group of guys who work exceptionally have and I think we have a great driver talent in the team as well.
"We just have to do our homework, get our cars engineered a little better, learn a little more about the Lola and I think we will be back on the podium very soon."
CRAIG GORE -- CO-OWNER TEAM AUSTRALIA
"It does only seem like yesterday we were at Long Beach but it is very gratifying to finishing with two cars in the top ten at the final race of the year. To see what we have done this year with the cars, the team and what we have achieved for Australia is fantastic.
"We didn't have any pace today and that really damaged us today. However, the guys kept their noses clean and did a fantastic job.
"I am very proud of the Aussie Vineyards crew, we have pulled off miracles to run three cars at the final two races.
"When you look at what we have been able to achieve this year to represent Australia and provide our sponsors with outstanding marketing opportunities in the North American market -- it really is pleasing."
AUSTRALIAN TELEVISION: The final round of the 2005 Champ Car World Series will be telecast on Network Ten at 11.50 pm (AEST) on November 7.