BOTH RSPORTS CARS FINISH IN TOP EIGHT FOR THE FOURTH TIME THIS SEASON IN MONT-TREMBLANT MONT-TREMBLANT, QC., Canada (July 1st 2007) -- The RSPORTS team placed both cars in the top eight for the fourth time this season as Justin Wilson finished...
BOTH RSPORTS CARS FINISH IN TOP EIGHT FOR THE FOURTH TIME THIS SEASON IN MONT-TREMBLANT
MONT-TREMBLANT, QC., Canada (July 1st 2007) -- The RSPORTS team placed both cars in the top eight for the fourth time this season as Justin Wilson finished the inaugural Champ Car Grand Prix of Mont-Tremblant fifth and teammate Alex Tagliani eighth.
There was a lot of action for this race on the 2.6-mile Circuit Mont-Tremblant. It was a race with a mix of weather conditions that constantly changed from sun to rain, similar to the final round of qualifying on Saturday. Fifteen laps in today's 62-lap race were under yellow with six different caution periods. The drivers were able to make it to Lap 44 before they came into the pits to change their Bridgestone Potenza slick tires for a wet set. The remaining 18 laps of the race were run with these tires.
After attempting the third-standing start in Champ Car history, today marked the first time that it was not a complete success. Three cars stalled on the grid, causing the 17-car field to take the green flag in a rolling start formation on Lap 3. One of those cars that stalled was the second place starter, Will Power, who was lined up directly in front of the fourth-position start of Wilson when they were set to take the green light. That caused some complications for Wilson, but he made the best of it and found himself P3 (Pole sitter Tristan Gommendy failed to start the race due to complications, but later joined the field).
On Lap 10, Wilson posted the fastest race lap, despite struggling to keep up with the top two. However, that did not stop the Brit, as he felt that the #9 CDW car was running well and just kept fighting. Wilson came in for his first pit stop of the day, telling his #9 CDW crew that he needed no changes to the car, so the pit stop was usual business -- tires and fuel. On Lap 22, the weather began to turn for the worst as a light, misty rain began. On Lap 28, Wilson moved up to the second spot, and on Lap 31 he was charging hard for P1. When a yellow flag came out on Lap 36, he came in for his second stop of the day. On Lap 43, Wilson moved from fifth to second as he made his way around eventual race winner Robert Doornbos, Sebastien Bourdais and Simon Pagenaud. On Lap 44 he came in for wet tires and his #9 CDW crew demonstrated their speed and talent by getting him out quick so he could gain one spot in the pits, which put him P1 on Lap 45. He paced the field for another two laps, but due to a lack of grip on the wet tires he ran off into the grass, losing the lead and five spots. Wilson did the best he could to salvage a top-five result, as he crossed the finish line fifth in Round 6 of the 2007 Champ Car World Series.
Tagliani who started eighth, had moved into the top six at the start. On Lap 16 he was charging hard and really closing in to capture a top five running position. On Lap 20, the French-Canadian came in for his first-of-three pits stops in today's race. On Lap 23, Tagliani radioed to his RSPORTS #8 crew saying that it was taking forever for his tire pressures to come up. When the rain stopped for a brief period of time on Lap 25, it had already caused a wet and slippery track. The next lap would see Tagliani pay for the change of track condition as he spun in Turn 5 and continued. He was running in the 7th position at the time, and fortunately only lost one spot. But on Lap 35 he had made his way into the top five, and pitted out of the fifth position on Lap 37. Towards the end of the race, around Lap 58, the Quebec-native was trying hard to earn a top-five finish, but pushed a little too hard under the wet conditions on Lap 61 going off course and falling from sixth to eighth, as teammate Wilson and Graham Rahal were able to get by. Despite some good passes and a good effort, Tagliani finished today's event in front of his hometown crowd eighth overall.
Despite not earning the finish that he was hoping for, Tagliani continues to make history this season in the Champ Car World Series as the only driver to have finished every event in 2007 in the top ten. He earned 15 points in today's event, giving him a total of 112 markers in the 2007 championship standings. However, he is one point behind teammate Wilson. Wilson earned 19 points this afternoon, giving him a grand total after six events of 113 and moves into the fourth spot in the championship standings, while Tagliani now sits fifth.
With three races in a row in Canada this season, Champ Car has introduced a new mini-competition. Officially dubbed the "Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown," the team competition will pit teams against each other over the three successive Canadian races, beginning this week in Mont-Tremblant (July 1), continuing next week in Toronto (July 8) and concluding on July 22 in Edmonton. The standings for the Triple Crown are based on the combined average finish for each team. With the Canadian team competition opening appropriately enough on Canada Day today in Mont-Tremblant, RSPORTS teammates Wilson and Tagliani round out the top three on the Triple Crown leaderboard with an average of 6.5 after finishing fifth and eighth.
Next up for the RSPORTS team will be the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto, the second stop in the Canadian Triple Crown and the seventh race this season. The Toronto event will take place one week from today, Sunday, June 8th at 1:00 p.m. local time.
Justin Wilson #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone
"It was an eventful race. I had to dodge Will Power during the standing start because he had stalled and that compromised my start quite dramatically and I had to let (Robert) Doornbos go by. I could see that Sebastien (Bourdais) got a rolling start, and I was hoping that the officials had seen that, but they missed that. So, from then on it was just driving to the conditions, and the conditions were very changeable. When it started raining we were on slicks, so I managed to get past everyone and get to the front with the #9 CDW car. And then soon as we put the wets on, we were slow -- we had no balance. We were just hanging on until it dried out a little bit on the last few laps and then get quicker, but unfortunately it was too little too late."
Alex Tagliani #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program
"It was an eventful weekend and race. Unfortunately, we did not finish as good as we wanted in the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program car for the team and the sponsors. We need to go to Toronto to try to make it happen there."
Dan Pettit, RSPORTS team co-owner "I thought that we had a good race. We got ourselves up to the front and we just had a little bad luck in the rain. We spun out and got behind too many cars, then had to work hard to get something back out of it. But that is the way it goes, sometimes the rain can do some really funny things to you. The #9 CDW/RSPORTS team did a really good job today and I am very pleased with their continued strong performance. We had great pit stops, and Justin did a really good job out there for us in the #9 CDW car. Unfortunately, it just wasn't our day.
I think that Alex and the #8 crew also did a good job this weekend; it was a tough couple of days with the weather's constant changes. He did a great job representing Quebec as a driver, and for the RSPORTS team. It is a shame that he couldn't have had a better result, knowing that this was a special race for him."
Paul Gentilozzi, RSPORTS team co-owner regarding the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart
Victory Lap Charity Program
"It is hard to spend time in the grass and win the race, although we were lucky both times we went off in the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program car and the #9 CDW car because we did not loose much. We just didn't have anything for the guys up at the front, I don't know exactly what it was, but we weren't fast enough. We will take two top-ten finishes and aim at doing better in Toronto."