TOUGH WEEKEND FOR TEAM OZ After one of its best opening qualifying results on Friday, Team Australia faced one of its toughest race days of the season in the fifth round of the Champ Car World Series at the Portland International Raceway in ...
TOUGH WEEKEND FOR TEAM OZ
After one of its best opening qualifying results on Friday, Team Australia faced one of its toughest race days of the season in the fifth round of the Champ Car World Series at the Portland International Raceway in Oregon today.
Will Power, who is from Toowoomba in Queensland, suffered major brake problems on his Aussie Vineyards Lola early in the race and was forced to pit for a long period which put him 13 laps behind the leader.
He rejoined the race and used the remaining laps to practice fuel strategy. At the same time he managed to notch the fastest lap of the race.
Power was officially ruled 18th in one of the few Champ Car races in recent times where all 18 cars were active at the end of the event.
As a result, he has dropped to 14th in the championship and to third in the Rookie of the Year standings, just three points behind Katherine Legge and four behind David Clarke.
Alex Tagliani struggled with fuel economy all race in his Aussie Vineyards Lola and never really recovered from an early stop.
The team was banking on a yellow flag period to work its strategy, but, remarkably, it never came.
The talented Canadian officially finished 11th and now sits ninth in the championship.
AJ Allmendinger, who was sacked by RuSport last week before being snapped up by Forsythe Racing a couple of days later, topped his weekend with his first Champ Car victory.
Allmendinger led 100 of the 105 laps and became the first American driver to win a Champ Car race since Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2004.
English driver Justin Wilson was second ahead of current series champion Sebastian Bourdais.
The series will have a quick turnaround this week as the caravan travels West to East for next weekend's Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--..
ALEX TAGLIANI - #15 TEAM AUSTRALIA/AUSSIE VINEYARDS LOLA
"In general this was a pretty disappointing weekend," said Tagliani.
"We didn't have a fast enough car, and the strategy that we chose required a yellow and we didn't have any yellows, so the two things we needed we didn't have."
"Our car wasn't quick enough so when that happens it makes for a tough weekend. "Team Australia put in their best effort and worked very hard, but that's racing, and now we just have to focus on doing well in Cleveland."
WILL POWER - #5 TEAM AUSTRALIA/AUSSIVE VINEYARDS LOLA
"In the beginning of the race we had a rocky start," said Power.
"The rear tires went off pretty badly, so we suffered a lot coming out onto the main straight and lost positions that way. After we fixed the brake problem the team made a change for the better and the car was really good."
"It's very disappointing to come away with another mechanical problem, but we were able to get some good lap times in, we practiced fuel saving, and we were able to come away with the fastest lap time."
"In the end the car felt really good after all the changes so now we can use that to our advantage in Cleveland."
DERRICK WALKER -- CO-OWNER TEAM AUSTRALIA
"Portland is a very difficult track to overtake so we rolled the dice on putting out a different strategy which was pit early," said Walker.
"It needed a yellow to make it work, with the lap times that we were able to do. We didn't get the yellow so we didn't get the strategy to work, unfortunately."
"The good news is Will drove a really quick race when he had the car at his best on a clean race track and got the fastest lap of the race."
"It's not all doom and gloom, we've got some stuff to work on, but I think that we learned a lot today."
CRAIG GORE -- CO-OWNER TEAM AUSTRALIA
"Sometimes you roll the dice and things don't come up how you would like," said Gore.
"There is no doubt that this finished as a tough weekend, but at least we have two cars in one piece and head to Cleveland knowing we have some pace."
"We just need a little luck to go our way in both the Champ Car and Atlantics."