CHAMPCAR/CART: RSPORTS race report

EDMONTON, AB, Canada -- RSPORTS continues its momentum of podium finishes with Justin Wilson in today's Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton, while teammate Alex Tagliani earned his first DNF of the season when contact ended his day earlier than ...

EDMONTON, AB, Canada -- RSPORTS continues its momentum of podium finishes with Justin Wilson in today's Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton, while teammate Alex Tagliani earned his first DNF of the season when contact ended his day earlier than planned.

Wilson gave it his all today, and in addition to his outstanding run this afternoon, his #9 CDW/RSPORTS crew gave him great performances in the pits, which ultimately led to another podium finish this afternoon in Edmonton.

Starting third on the grid, Wilson admitted that he did not make the best of (standing) starts. As he got going, he had a bit of wheel spin. Despite losing one position on the start, he was able to get back that spot on Lap 3 by making a nice move around Neel Jani. He remained P3 until Lap 20 when he made his first pit stop of the day. Obtaining new tires and a full load of fuel, Wilson's crew showed what they were made of by getting the CDW/RSPORTS driver out ahead of Sebastien Bourdais, who was running in the second spot. Wilson then moved up to P2, where he sat until Lap 48. Wilson stayed out a lap longer than leader Will Power before pitting on lap 50 and paced the 17-car field for one lap. But Bourdais managed to go two laps longer than Wilson, thus leapfrogging back up into the lead after the pit-stops. After his final pit stop on Lap 70, Wilson was running laps around the 1.973-mile temporary road course under the one-minute marker, but it still was not enough to hunt down race winner Bourdais.

Wilson earned his second podium finish in Edmonton with his second-place result this year. This is his third podium in 2007, and it is also notable that he scored back-to-back podiums after finishing third at the last race in Toronto. This also marks his fifth top-five finish in the last five races. After earning 27 points today and retaining the fourth spot in the standings, Wilson closed the gap in the championship and sits only nine points out of second.

After a morning warm-up session which saw Tagliani post his best time of the weekend and finish in the top three, he seemed to have the confidence he needed to have going into today's event. He was ready and determined to get the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program car going for a more positive finish then he has had in the past couple of races.

Starting ninth on the grid, the French-Canadian grabbed one position on Lap 5. He was sitting in P8 all the way up until his first pit stop of the day on Lap 20, which saw a terrific performance by the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program crew that moved Tagliani up two spots. Sitting P6 from Laps 21-47, things were looking pretty good for Tagliani. That was up until he ran out of fuel on his last lap before his second stop on Lap 48. Coasting down pitlane on empty, Tagliani lost valuable time, and on top of that, the car stalled once he reached the pit box. The #8 crew got him going again, but at that point, he went a lap down. Despite the disappointment of losing a lap, the RSPORTS team quickly strategized a way for him to get back on the lead lap. They hoped to go one more lap then the rest of the field on the next pit stop sequence and make up for lost time, but an on-track incident involving Robert Doornbos and Tagliani ultimately sent him in the pits to park. The #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program car had experienced left front suspension damage, which was unrepairable in the given time frame left of the race.

Tagliani completed 69 of 96 laps this afternoon, earning a 15th place finish as a result to his DNF (Did Not Finish). This is the first race after seven events that the Montreal- Native did not take the checkered flag. As a result, Tagliani drops one spot in the Champ Car championship standings. With 134 points, he currently sits sixth overall.

With the two podium finishes, a fifth-place result in Mont-Tremblant, along with teammate Tagliani's double eighth-place finishes in Mont-Tremblant and Toronto, the RSPORTS duo finished third in the Canadian Triple Crown standings with an average of 6.7. The RSPORTS drivers were awarded with trophies on today's podium, created by renowned Inuit artist Ohito Ashoona representing Inuksuks which were a symbol of co-operation and team building as well as leadership, achievement and strength.

The RSPORTS team and the Champ Car World Series will return resume racing in the United States next weekend as they gear up for Round 9 of the 2007 season on the streets of San Jose, California, July 27-29.

Quotes

Justin Wilson #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"It was a long, tough race. It was great fun and we gave everything we had, but it wasn't quite enough. The team did a fantastic job all weekend and I'm really pleased to get another podium here at Edmonton for CDW and all our partners."

Alex Tagliani #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"It all started to go down hill when we ran out of fuel, which put us a lap down. So I was just trying to push hard in the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program car to get back some time. Our strategy was to stay out there when everyone else pitted so that we could get back our lap. But then I got held up behind (Robert) Doornbos. He was not as quick as me and he was not fighting for position with anyone. I thought that he could have just let me by, but unfortunately the contact between us was just a racing incident. It is a shame, we really did not have the luck or the performances that we needed to have up here in Canada. Hopefully our return to the United States next weekend will see things turn around for us."

Dan Pettit, RSPORTS co-team owner

"I am very proud of the entire #9 CDW/RSPORTS team after all their hard work this weekend. They put in a great effort and in the end, deserved another top finish. Justin drove an excellent race today and the team did a flawless job in the pits. We have been so close to earning our first win of the season; it is a shame that we just keep coming up a little short. But at the same time, we are closing the gap in the championship, so if we can keep up this consistency, that first win will come and we can have a successful season overall."

Paul Gentilozzi, RSPORTS co-team owner

"It was an unfortunate race for us. It was not the way that we wanted to finish our Canadian run for our sponsors Tide, Wal-Mart, and all the partners with the Victory Lap Charity Program. We came into the race with a good car, we made a strategic mistake and it cost us quite a few positions. It was a shame that we were not able to finish the race, we will go on to San Jose and hopefully improve."

-credit: rsports

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Paul Gentilozzi , Robert Doornbos , Neel Jani , Will Power