CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Team Australia Saturday report

SOLID DAY FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA Team Australia has qualified its three cars in the top 13 for tomorrow's 15th annual Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise in Queensland -- the penultimate round of the Champ Car World Series. All ...

SOLID DAY FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA

Team Australia has qualified its three cars in the top 13 for tomorrow's 15th annual Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise in Queensland -- the penultimate round of the Champ Car World Series.

All three drivers struggled for grip and with traffic while trying to extract the best from the Aussie Vineyards Lolas.

Alex Tagliani, who was second yesterday in the wet, was the quickest of the Team Australia trio, with a time of one minute 34.137 seconds.

Toowoomba's Will Power was 11th fastest with a time of 1:34.599 while local Gold Coaster Marcus Marshall was 13th with a 1:34.854.

Oriol Servia set the pace from his Newman-Haas team-mate Sebastian Bourdais, who only has to start tomorrow's race to clinch his second consecutive title.

Former race winner Mario Dominguez was third in his Forsythe Racing entry.

Today's qualifying was held in front of a record crowd of 90,265 fans, the majority of which were cheering for Team Australia.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--..

ALEX TAGLIANI - #15 AUSSIE VINEYARDS TEAM AUSTRALIA LOLA
"We are having problems with the braking and our overall grip," said Tagliani.

"We are getting a lot of wheel-spin on parts of the asphalt.

"It is a little bit disappointing after our strong result in the wet yesterday.

"The plan is to definitely be around at the end of the race and maybe end up on the podium, at least the top five.

"This place has claimed a lot of cars over the years and we need to make sure we keep it all together tomorrow.

"All three Team Australia drivers are saying similar things, so we could get a good direction overnight.

"We really need to a terrific result for the fans who have just been fantastic the last couple of days."

WILL POWER - # 25 AUSSIE VINEYARDS TEAM AUSTRALIA LOLA
"There is no doubt that the session was a little bit frustrating," said Power.

"I was definitely on a flyer at the end of the session when another car just totally baulked me.

"The thing that today's session did do was get me a little more used to the car and into a bit of rhythm.

"I have a couple of blisters on my shifting hand because I have been used to paddle shifts. I will need to toughen up a bit.

"I am making less mistakes each time I go out and I am sure we can make the car quicker after our de-brief this afternoon.

"This race is about being conservative and being there at the end as David (Besnard) proved last year in this race."

MARCUS MARSHALL - #5 AUSSIE VINEYARDS TEAM AUSTRALIA LOLA
"I am fairly happy with the result today," said Marshall.

"I actually got blocked by Cristiano (da Matta) on my quick lap, I mean really blocked through turns 8-9-10.

"I think we probably had the car speed to be a few spots higher on the time sheet.

"Overall we lack some balance and grip.

"I actually clipped some tyres on my second set of tyres and that bent my suspension a little.

"Overall I think we have a pretty good race car and that is going to be very important around this place for 57 laps.

"I am really excited about tomorrow and hopefully we can have the Team Australia colours flying high after the race."

DERRICK WALKER -- CO-OWNER TEAM AUSTRALIA
"It looked like we reached a limit with all three cars today and the drivers are telling us similar things, so we need to look at stuff over night," said Walker.

"If the luck had been better with track position we might have gained a bit, but we really need a big bit to close the gap on the front runners.

"At the same time we are not in bad shape.

"We have been saying it all year, but people must remember we are here with a Lola for the first time.

"I look forward to coming back here next year with at least some guide on our set-up sheets and some data in the bank."

"Overall I think the team has done a very good job to have three cars in the top 13."

CRAIG GORE -- CO-OWNER TEAM AUSTRALIA
"Experience obviously counts for a lot around here. You can see that when you consider that the four former winners in the race are all in the top eight as well as the two championship front runners," said Gore.

"I think so many people on this team learnt a lot today and they can be proud of their efforts.

"It's quite amazing that we have come on this journey and now we are less than 24 hours away from what will be a great day for so many people involved when we roll out three Team Australia cars in front of a home crowd.

"It is going to be exciting and emotional and something I hope we all get the most out of. Bring on tomorrow."

-team australia-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Marcus Marshall , Will Power