CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Team Australia Saturday report

TEAM AUSTRALIA TO START ON ROW TWO IN PORTAND Team Australia's Alex Tagliani will start from the second row of the grid in tomorrow's fourth round of the Champ Car World Series in Portland Oregon. Tagliani set the fourth-fastest time in the...

TEAM AUSTRALIA TO START ON ROW TWO IN PORTAND

Team Australia's Alex Tagliani will start from the second row of the grid in tomorrow's fourth round of the Champ Car World Series in Portland Oregon.

Tagliani set the fourth-fastest time in the opening qualifying session on Friday and his time in the Aussie Vineyards Lola was not bettered in today's final qualifying run.

Despite being fourth, the talented Canadian was far from happy with his car as his Australian wife Bronte watched on from pit lane.

Tagliani is hoping to follow-up his recent podium finish at Monterrey, Mexico with a similar or better performance at Portland.

His Team Australia team mate Marcus Marshall dropped one spot and will start 18th for only his fourth Champ Car start. Marshall, who was born in Tasmania and raised on the Gold Coast, was on target to start at least four or five positions higher when the session was red flagged.

At the point the red flag was produced his lap time was up 0.8 of a second on his previous best time.

Englishman Justin Wilson took his first Champ Car pole from team mate AJ Allmendinger and former Lexmark Indy 300 winner Paul Tracy.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--..

ALEX TAGLIANI - #15 AUSSIE VINEYARDS-TEAM AUSTRALIA

"I am happy that we maintained our qualifying position today and that we will start fourth tomorrow, but it wasn't easy," said Tagliani.

"The car is not consistent and it is not as if I am jumping out of the car saying 'that it is the best I have ever driven'. In a lot of ways that is a positive thing.

"If we can be fourth with the car we have, then there is every opportunity to move even further up the time sheets.

"The Aussie Vineyards Team Australia outfit deserves to be where it is because everyone is working hard. If we continue to work away then we can improve and maybe do it a little easier than we are at the moment.

"The good thing is that we still have a couple of test days up our sleeve where we can go away and really work at things. I think by mid-season we are going to be a lot stronger.

"I think with good tyre management and fuel mileage we will have the chance to at least stay where we are or maybe grab another podium tomorrow.

"We are certainly going to have to work on things overnight to ensure we have the right racecar tomorrow. None of us are concerned about leaving the track too early."

MARCUS MARSHALL - #5 AUSSIE VINEYARDS-TEAM AUSTRALIA

"We are still chasing the car and learning more every time we go out on the track," said Marshall.

"I was 0.8 of a second up on my best lap when the session was red-flagged, but I guess that's the way things go.

"Neither Alex (Tagliani) or I got the best out of our red (softer) tyres today and that continues to confuse us a little.

"The weather is certainly going to be an interesting variable tomorrow. I will not mind too much if it does rain because those Bridgestone tyres were awesome in the wet session yesterday.

"I consider myself a better racer than qualifier in a lot of ways, so I have my chance to be patient and work my way through the field tomorrow.

"With a bit of luck, some successful strategy and good stops I don't think a top 10 finish is out of the question. The priority is to ensure that I finish the race and continue to learn as much as possible. You don't learn much sitting back in the pits."

CRAIG GORE -- CO-OWNER AUSSIE VINEYARDS-TEAM AUSTRALIA

"So far so good," said Gore, from his Australian base on Queensland's Gold Coast.

"Alex has been a star for us and Marcus was a little unlucky on his quick lap. No one is losing sight of the fact that this is only the fourth race for this team.

"With a bit of luck we could be looking at another podium tomorrow and that would be an incredible result."

DERRICK WALKER -- CO-OWNER AUSSIE VINEYARDS-TEAM AUSTRALIA

"Having the guys at either end of the grid allows us to roll the dice on a couple of different strategies tomorrow," said Walker.

"Alex has had his problems, but is working hard with us and to be fourth is a good reward for everyone, but tomorrow is when it counts.

"Marcus is still really learning his way around the car, but I don't think he is that far away."

-team aus-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Marcus Marshall