SURFERS PARADISE, Queensland, Australia (October 20, 2007) - After little, to almost no, time on track during Friday's kick-off Champ Car activities for the Lexmark Indy 300, Rocketsports Racing was able to rebound by getting in quality track time...
SURFERS PARADISE, Queensland, Australia (October 20, 2007) - After little, to almost no, time on track during Friday's kick-off Champ Car activities for the Lexmark Indy 300, Rocketsports Racing was able to rebound by getting in quality track time and a suitable car for the final round of qualifying today in Surfers Paradise, Australia.
This morning's practice session saw Alex Tagliani, Rocketsports driver of the #8 PBS Equities/Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone, get the track time he was desperately looking for. The French Canadian was able to complete 25 laps in just one session, compared to a rough day on-track yesterday when he completed a total of 18 laps, 11 timed. He rounded out the top ten after this morning's practice, with a time of 1:32.632 (108.623 mph/174.812 km/h), sitting tenth overall.
The final round of qualifying allotted each driver to have a maximum of 15 qualifying laps. Tagliani completed 13 laps during the 35-minute qualifying segment this afternoon. He started his first run on black Bridgestone Potenza tires, while switching to the softer Bridgestone Reds for his last stint.
In just two laps this afternoon, Tagliani sat P3. Heading out early seemed to be of an advantage, but a red flag would come out in the middle of his first run. When the track went green again, Tagliani went back out to finish his first stint, which consisted of seven laps. With just about eight minutes to go, the Rocketsports driver was back on track to finish his qualifying run. He posted his fastest time of 1:31.664 (109.770 mph) on his 11th lap, which was only good enough to place him 11th on the grid.
Tagliani will attempt to make his 130th start when he takes the green flag in Australia. This weekend will mark his eighth start on the streets of Surfers Paradise. It will be the fifth start for the Rocketsports team Down Under.
There will be the traditional 30-minute Warm Up session beginning at 9:00 a.m. Australian EST (7:00 p.m., Saturday, ET USA). The #8 Rocketsports Champ Car will grid at 12:40 p.m. local time, with the Lexmark Indy 300 taking the green flag at 1:35 p.m. The race can be seen live in the United States on ESPN Classic with coverage from the Gold Coast, Australia beginning at 11:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 20. A tape-delayed broadcast can be seen on ESPN2 at 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 21. Fans can also follow the Rocketsports team on the internet by logging onto www.champcar.ws and signing up for Race Director. For more information, check out www.rocketsportsracing.com.
Alex Tagliani #8 PBS Equities/Rocketsports
Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone "It was actually a pretty good day for us. We improved quite a bit. I think that we are still struggling a little bit with the overall balance and grip of the #8 Rocketsports car. It seems that we get to the limit pretty quickly because every time we try to push a little bit harder the rear steps out. It is rear locking, and basically the limit factor for us is to brake a little bit deeper and let the car roll at a higher speed into the corner. We made a big chunk of progress; we have a little bit more to make. Considering that we lost basically almost all day on Friday, I think we did alright today. We are definitely lacking a little bit on the grip side of the car for this particular track, but if we can make improvements and we can get a car that is reasonable, along with a good race strategy, I think that we can have a pretty good race and bring home a reasonable finish."