TEAMWORK THE KEY TO TEAM AUSTRALIA'S DAY IN TORONTO Team Australia's Alex Tagliani fought back after having to undergo a last minute engine change this morning aboard his Aussie Vineyards Lola at the Molson Indy Toronto today. Ford Cosworth...
TEAMWORK THE KEY TO TEAM AUSTRALIA'S DAY IN TORONTO
Team Australia's Alex Tagliani fought back after having to undergo a last minute engine change this morning aboard his Aussie Vineyards Lola at the Molson Indy Toronto today.
Ford Cosworth engineers discovered a fuel injector problem aboard Tagliani's #15 car this morning and the Team Australia squad set to work on performing an engine change at 9.24am -- only 66 minutes before the first practice session.
Amazingly, the team had the car back on the ground 60 minutes later and Tagliani only missed the opening five minutes of the practice session.
The Canadian improved his time today, shaving more than 4/10th of second from yesterday's qualifying time. Tomorrow he will line up from position five on the grid with a fastest time of 58.821 seconds.
Aussie rookie Marcus Marshall also took 4/10ths of a second off his fastest time to stop the clocks at 60.613.
Both drivers were hampered by a late qualifying session red flag that brought an end to the session early. Marshall in particular, was 2/10ths of a second up on his fastest lap when the session was halted.
Tagliani's 5th place is his 4th top ten start and 3rd top five qualifying effort at the Toronto street race.
Tomorrow's sixth round of the Champ Car World Series will face the green flag at 1pm local time (3.00am Monday morning AEST).
WHAT IS AUSSIE VINEYARDS/TEAM AUSTRALIA?
Australia will again play host to the Champ Car World Series on the streets of Surfers Paradise for the Lexmark Indy 300 from October 20-23. This year will be the first year in the event's history that a full-time Australian team will compete for glory on home soil.
Team Australia is a new Champ Car entry created for 2005 by veteran team owner Derrick Walker and Australian businessmen Craig Gore and John Fish.
The team will contest the championship with major sponsorship from Aussie Vineyards, a new Queensland company established by Gore and Fish to export Australian wine into the US market.
The pair is looking to use the program as a tool for other Australian businesses also wishing to market their products and services into the US.
ALEX TAGLIANI -- CAR #1
"I am certainly happy with the progress today but we just couldn't find that final couple of tenths we needed to get on the front row.
"There wasn't as much grip out there this morning after a bit of rain overnight but the boys did a brilliant job to change my engine just before the first practice session after we found a problem with a fuel injector. They did the entire job in about an hour and we only missed about five minutes of the session.
"The guys were fantastic to get it changed so quickly -- they just keep getting better and better.
"In qualifying my first run went well, but because of the red flag I didn't get a chance to improve even further on my second set of tyres. The track gets quicker and quicker and you want to leave your run until the last minute, but the red flag can sometimes catch you out.
"We have been quick all weekend long and tomorrow and fuel mileage is going to be important tomorrow. I really think we have a very good shot of getting another podium finish."
MARCUS MARSHALL -- CAR #5
"I am starting to have a few nightmares about red flags right at the end of qualifying sessions. It seems to happen to me every race. I was about 2/10ths of a second up going into turn three when the red flag came out this time.
"We made a change which really helped the car and it was dramatically different than before.
"It is a continual learning process for me, but the positive aspect is we have really improved the car and that will be a big plus for tomorrow's race. I have had a couple of punctures this weekend and the guys also discovered a damaged part in the suspension after I tagged the wall yesterday, so hopefully all my bad luck is now over.
"I can't wait to get back in it in the warm-up tomorrow morning. Once we made the change, I kept getting faster and faster but then the session finished too early.
"I am looking forward to the race and taking a serious shot at a top ten finish. The plan is to have a good steady race and keep out of trouble."
DERRICK WALKER -- CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA
"It was very unfortunate for Marcus because we made a change which had certainly made the car a lot better and he was looking for a good gain which would have moved him up the grid when the red flag came out.
"With the engine change this morning, the entire team has been flat out all day and I am very proud of how well they worked together to get it done. It was great to see guys from Marcus's car also lending a hand to Alex's crew to make sure we got out there in time.
"It further reinforces the strength we have in the ranks here at Team Australia.
"The car is certainly better than it was this morning, so for the race that is a big plus as it will be easier for the guys to push hard tomorrow. Track position is pretty vital here and Alex is up towards the front so we just have to manage the fuel, race hard and make the stops at the right time.
"There is not a lot of room to overtake here so our plan will be to let the guys fight it out at the front -- that battle will be pretty fierce -- and we will ride along and keep out of trouble early."
CRAIG GORE -- CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA
"Building a successful team takes far more than just good drivers and I am very proud of the what the guys achieved today -- changing an engine so quickly is a credit to all the team. Derrick has done a great job in moulding these guys together as a group.
"We have another excellent chance of challenging for a podium finish or better tomorrow. We are really ahead of expectations in that regard.
"Getting podium finishes was always our goal, but now we already have that podium in Mexico, we are aiming higher."