Wilson P3 during first round of qualifying for the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada -- Things were off to a good start in Toronto as the RSPORTS duo rounded out the top five in the morning practice, followed by Justin Wilson finishing in the top three during provisional qualifying this afternoon for Sunday's Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto.

Wilson has consistently been fast on the streets of Toronto during his last three visits, and this year's start to the race weekend was no different. On the first day, the defending pole sitter demonstrated that he was fairly quick right out of the box driving the #9 CDW/RSPORTS car, by finishing both sessions today inside of the top three. After completing 18 laps this morning, Wilson posted the second fastest time of the first practice session with a time of 1:00.391 (104.618 mph).

This afternoon Wilson headed out for the first round of qualifying in Toronto. The 2005 race winner ran both provisional qualifying stints on the harder black Bridgestone Potenza tires, opting to keep the faster, red-sidewalled tires in reserve for final qualifying tomorrow when the track should be quicker.

Tagliani started the morning off strong in his native country by recording the fourth quickest time. Posting a 1:00.420 (104.568 mph) on his 17th and final lap of the session, the French-Canadian completed a top four RSPORTS first practice result, enhancing the team's anticipation for the first round of qualifying this afternoon.

However, that anticipation was a little too much for the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program car. After the ten minute warm-up segment of the qualifying session this afternoon, Tagliani completed a total of 10 laps, and sat P2 on the Champ Car timing and scoring charts. Things were looking pretty good for the two-time Toronto podium finisher, however, changes made on the car and three red flags caused Tagliani to log a time of 59.737 (105.764 mph), which only put him 12th on the provisional grid.

The RSPORTS team has one more practice session before final qualifying for the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto takes place at 1:15 p.m. ET. The race on the Exhibition Place temporary circuit is scheduled for Sunday, July 9 at 1:00 p.m. ET and can be seen live on ESPN in the United States and Global in Canada.


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

"I think that we had a decent car, but then we made some changes to the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program car this afternoon. Those changes ended up being a mistake because they did not improve the car, nor make it feel better. So, we went two different directions today, but I think that we were able to learn what worked and what did not work. From that, we can use that information and adapt our car to make it better for tomorrow. I am pretty sure tomorrow we will be able to get the two RSPORTS cars up front the way we were this morning."

Justin Wilson #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"Everything's been working well today. I'm really pleased with the progress we made through this morning and into the qualifying session. The #9 CDW car was feeling good and I felt like we had a chance of going for pole. We were getting quicker every lap, but we got stuck in traffic and I just wasn't able to put a good run together. We'd be on it for one lap, then back off for two laps to find space, then on it again for another lap. It's very hard to put a good time in when it's like that. On my second to last lap I was up a 10th and a half, but I spun off in the last corner. I was just trying a bit too hard. Ultimately, I don't think we were quite quick enough to challenge the front row, but it would have been close. The balance is good and there's more to come from the car, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

-credit: rsports