CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America test report

Alex Tagliani Tops Road America Champ Car Testing ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin (June 1, 2004) -- There were an abundance of clouds invading the 4.048-mile Road America layout during Tuesday's Champ Car testing, and a few appeared at first glance to...

Alex Tagliani Tops Road America Champ Car Testing

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin (June 1, 2004) -- There were an abundance of clouds invading the 4.048-mile Road America layout during Tuesday's Champ Car testing, and a few appeared at first glance to be hovering directly over the Rocketsports hauler on a day when 15 cars from the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford took to the test track.

But the clouds that followed the second-year Champ Car team from Michigan had a silver lining as the team ended the session atop the time charts with veteran Alex Tagliani (#8 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) turning in a top lap of 1:44.54 according to times provided by Cosworth engineers. The team suffered through a day that saw one of its cars shelved after one lap, having a crew member bring out the ambulance with a gashed leg, and even seeing Tagliani's car come in on the tow rope at the end of the day, but were still able to find more speed than anyone else that turned laps at Elkhart Lake Tuesday.

Bruno Junqueira (#6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), whose whirlwind tour of the last four weeks comes to an end this weekend in Milwaukee, was second on the speed sheets with a best effort of 1:44.56. Junqueira is no stranger to going fast at Road America, having taken victory in each of the last two Champ Car visits to the Wisconsin road course.

"I love to test on this track, I wish we had five more days," Junqueira said. "Out of the box we were really fast on our first set of tires so then we were able to try a lot of different things. My expectations when I come to this track are always very high. This is the best track on our schedule by far."

Defending series champion Paul Tracy (#1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was third on the charts after turning more than 80 laps around the interminable Road America course. Tracy and the rest of the Forsythe Championship Racing squad ramped up the number of laps on Tuesday after losing Monday when strong rains came through the area and washed out testing.

"We lost a day of testing and I'm not very happy about that but we did almost two race distances today," Tracy said. "We're not where we want to be yet but we made a lot of changes and used up all our tires so we definitely got some work done."

Tracy's engineer Todd Malloy agreed. "We tried a lot of stuff today, some worked well, some wasn't so good," he said. "I think we're a lot closer to where we want to be now than we were last year."

Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) were the only other drivers to crack into the 1:44 range, although Dale Coyne Racing's Oriol Servia (#11 yokeTV.com Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was a scant .02 seconds away from joining that group. Servia had a new stablemate to test with today as the team gave former Formula 1 driver Gaston Mazzacane (#19 American Medical Response Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) another test after he performed well in his debut test last week at Putnam Park.

"This was my first real test and I am pleasantly surprised at how fast and quick this car is," Mazzacane said. "The potential in this car is very high. The track here is very good, it has a lot of very technical parts to it. I am very happy to have gotten this opportunity to test with Dale and hope to get more time in the car soon."

The teams will now pack up and drive an hour south as they prepare for the June 3-5 Time Warner Cable Road Runner 250 at the Milwaukee Mile oval. The event will feature the Champ Car season's only night race on Saturday, which can be seen on Spike TV and HDNet as well as on the official website of the series, www.champcarworldseries.com

<pre> The unofficial top times of the day are listed below.

1)  Alex Tagliani       (#8 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)            1:44.54
2)  Bruno Junqueira     (#6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)                  1:44.56
3)  Paul Tracy          (#1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)                      1:44.81
4)  Sebastien Bourdais  (#2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)                  1:44.86
5)  Ryan Hunter-Reay    (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)                      1:44.92
6)  Oriol Servia   (    #11 yokeTV.com Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)                  1:45.02
7)  Patrick Carpentier  (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)                      1:45.28
8)  Jimmy Vasser        (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)                 1:45.63
9)  Justin Wilson       (#34 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)                    1:45.68
10) Rodolfo Lavin       (#3 Corona Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)                      1:45.78
11) Mario Haberfeld     (#5 Cummins Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone)                  1:45.88
12) Roberto Gonzalez    (#21 NII Holdings Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)               1:46.68
13) Gaston Mazzacane    (#19 American Medical Response Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)  1:48.46
14) Alex Sperafico      (#14 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone)                 1:49.64
15) Nelson Philippe     (#17 LeasePlan Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)                  No Time

-ccws-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gaston Mazzacane , Mario Haberfeld , Justin Wilson , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Sébastien Bourdais , Rodolfo Lavin , Roberto Gonzalez , Alex Sperafico , Nelson Philippe , Dale Coyne
Teams HART