CHAMPCAR/CART: San Jose: Team Australia preview

TEAM EFFORT SENDS TEAM AUSTRALIA TO SAN JOSE ON A HIGH Team Australia is on a roll as the Aussie Vineyards squad prepares to tackle the Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San Jose at the demanding temporary Californian street course for Round 9 of...

TEAM EFFORT SENDS TEAM AUSTRALIA TO SAN JOSE ON A HIGH

Team Australia is on a roll as the Aussie Vineyards squad prepares to tackle the Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San Jose at the demanding temporary Californian street course for Round 9 of the Champ Car World Series.

Entering this weekend on a high, Team Australia is looking to conquer the notoriously tough San Jose street course. Last year Team Australia finished in ninth place at the Califonian venue, but along with other teams, had problems with the roughness of the course.

Team Australia's crew has worked incredibly hard for its drivers all season. At the Edmonton event last weekend they again proved how skilled, hard working and dedicated they all are by not only preparing a spare #5 chassis for Australian Will Power after an accident on Friday, but also gave him a car capable of running with the pacesetters.

Edmonton saw Power post his best ever Champ Car finish of sixth place in only the Queenslander's 10th Champ Car World Series start and he certainly realises the role the Team Australia crew played in that finish.

Power's sixth place at Edmonton extended his lead in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year title standings. On the other hand, his team-mate Tagliani had a tougher time on the course and he finished in 12th place.

Team Australia driver Alex Tagliani finished in the top 10 in San Jose in 2005 in an amazing comeback after the Canadian missed the final qualifying session. The Champ Car veteran had to start at the back of the grid but was able to finish ninth, despite losing 10 laps to replace a broken push rod, one of four that were broken for the team that weekend. This year changes have been made to the course and the Aussie Vineyards-backed team is looking to come away with a positive finish.

Both Team Australia drivers headed to Tagliani's home in Las Vegas to train and relax between Edmonton and San Jose. Not only are they looking forward to the San Jose race, but Power and Tagliani are also excited about the unveiling of the new Panoz DP01 Champ Car that will be used by all teams in the Champ Car World Series from 2007.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY ...

Alex Tagliani -- #15 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola

"Last year we had a good car in San Jose, but during qualifying and the race we kept breaking pushrods," said Tagliani.

"I started last on the grid because I didn't get to qualify. On the opening lap I bumped up to 10th and then to eighth and finished ninth. I had to come in and lost 10 laps because we had to repair a pushrod. The track was really rough and bumpy, which made it more challenging to race.

"This year the track is supposed to be much better, so I don't expect to have the problems we had last year. It's nice to come home to Vegas with Will and do some fitness and get back into business for San Jose."

Will Power -- #5 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola

"I haven't been to San Jose yet, so it's the normal story for me as it will be my first time to the circuit," said Power.

"From the tapes I've watched the track is quite bumpy and very tight. It's a normal street circuit. I've been working with Alex on what grip levels the circuit has and I look forward to San Jose after leaving Edmonton with a good result. My plan is to just get on the pace as quick as I did in Edmonton."

Derrick Walker -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"We're looking forward to coming back to San Jose," said Walker.

"It's a great venue and the promoters did a fantastic job of putting on a great show last year. San Jose was a challenging circuit for us last year as there were some problems with the roughness of the track. Changes have been made to the course, which is good so that we can get a good street course setup.

"In the past our street course set-up has been our strongest. San Jose will be a good race and fit all our drivers well."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"San Jose is right in the middle of one of the US's major wine regions and it would be great for Team Australia to fly the Aussie Vineyards colours successfully this weekend," said Gore.

"The track certainly offered a unique set of challenges in its first year last season, but there has been plenty of modifications since then and I think we head into this weekend with a real shot.

"We need to keep Alex moving up in the championship and put Will in a spot where he can win this year's Rookie of the Year title -- wouldn't it be great for him to be in a position to wrap it up on the streets of the Gold Coast."

-team australia

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Will Power