CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Rocketsports Racing Friday report, driver change

TORONTO, Ont. (July, 9, 2004) -- Alex Tagliani, driver of the No.8 Johnson Controls Lola, qualified sixth (provisional) with a time of 59.754 (105.734 mph, 170.161 km/h) in the first qualifying session for the Molson Indy Toronto. Tagliani, who ...

TORONTO, Ont. (July, 9, 2004) -- Alex Tagliani, driver of the No.8 Johnson Controls Lola, qualified sixth (provisional) with a time of 59.754 (105.734 mph, 170.161 km/h) in the first qualifying session for the Molson Indy Toronto. Tagliani, who started fourth in Toronto in 2003, worked closely with the Rocketsports crew to improve the speed and grip of the No. 8 Lola, in order to secure a better starting position for Round Six of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford on Sunday.

"We're okay with the time we have, but want a few more tenths, which are in reach," said Tagliani. "The car is okay, but it needs more bite. It's difficult to find grip with the surface with the various concrete changes.

"We have good people on board, on the team and we're looking at adjusting the new dampers to what we need for qualifying tomorrow. The Rocketsports engineers are looking at the data, but there's a tight margin for change and we need to catch up.

"Drivers can make moves on the back straight-away, but it's tough to pass here (on the Toronto course). We expect to be quicker tomorrow and need a good position on the grid, which is important on the Toronto track," concluded Tagliani, who currently ranks fourth in the Champ Car World Series with 86 points.

Tagliani gets back on the Toronto street course at 1:45 PM (ET) Saturday, July 10, 2004 for the second qualifying session for the 19th annual Molson Indy Toronto.

Special Bulletin:
MEMO GIDLEY TO DRIVE FOR ROCKETSPORTS RACING IN TORONTO

Rocketsports Racing today announced a driver change for the Molson Indy Toronto. Champ Car rookie, Nelson Philippe will be replaced by veteran driver, Memo Gidley. Philippe will not be driving the No. 17 Lola for the second-year Rocketsports team due to contractual issues.

Memo Gidley will make his third Toronto start in the No. 17 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone in Round Six of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford. Gidley has three seasons driving Champ Cars, and also drove for Rocketsports in the Trans-Am series, in 2003. Gidley drove the No. 3 Rocketsports Jaguar R Performance XKR at Infineon Raceway, where he finished fourth.

"Memo's the right person to put in the No. 17 Rocketsports car for the Toronto Indy this weekend. I've worked with Memo in the past and he has experience here in Toronto. He'll be ready for the Saturday qualifying session and we look forward to working with him," commented Rocketsports team owner, Paul Gentilozzi.

-rsr-

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Series INDYCAR