CHAMPCAR/CART: Assen: Rocketsports Friday notes

Weather Throws off a Good Start for Rocketsports Racing's Tagliani in Assen ASSEN, The Netherlands (August 31, 2007) - The Champ Cars headed out today to begin on-track preparations for Sunday's Bavaria Beer Champ Car Grand Prix of Holland at TT...

Weather Throws off a Good Start for Rocketsports Racing's Tagliani in Assen

ASSEN, The Netherlands (August 31, 2007) - The Champ Cars headed out today to begin on-track preparations for Sunday's Bavaria Beer Champ Car Grand Prix of Holland at TT Circuit Assen, which made for a long day of learning and figuring out what needed to be done to the #8 Rocketsports Champ Car in order to make it fast on a venue that neither the team, nor driver, has ever competed on.

This morning's practice session gave Rocketsports driver Alex Tagliani the chance to learn the track behind the wheel of his #8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone. However, he did not have a lot of on track time, completing only 19 laps around the 2.83-mile permanent road course in The Netherlands. Immediately, Tagliani was quick, posting a time of 1:21.489 after completing only six laps to top the charts. However, during a session that saw five red flags, two of them which were caused by Tagliani, the practice session was shorter then the team had hoped for in terms of getting quality on-track time.

This afternoon saw cloudy skies, and just as the practice segment of the first round of qualifying came to an end, there was quite a mist. That turned into a solid light rain which continued to come down, only to stop just as the green flag dropped for the first round of qualifying. It was just enough to get the track wet, causing slippery conditions and drivers/teams opting to put on the Bridgestone Potenza wet tires. Tagliani went out for his first run four minutes into the session, and just as he was logging his first provisional qualifying lap, a red flag came out for a car that spun due to the wet conditions. When the track went green again, Tagliani went back out in full force. He posted a time of 1:32.607 on his sixth and final lap of his first run and came into the pits sitting P5. Just as Tagliani requested to have the Bridgestone Potenza Red slick tires put on because the track was drying, the rain started up again. With only seven minutes left in the session, the team put a new set of the wet tires and Tagliani was on his way, but was unable to improve his time during the final laps of his 12-lap provisional qualifying run in Assen.

The 1:32.607 (110.013 mph/177.049 kmh) time he previously recorded was enough to keep him in the top ten, finishing the first round of qualifying ninth overall. He will have another shot tomorrow to move his starting spot up the grid, as the final round of qualifying will take place Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. CET (8:00 a.m. ET in the United States).

Alex Tagliani #8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"Holland and to drive on this great track. I think that the #8 Rocketsports car was more setup for the dry conditions. We didn't make the proper changes that we needed for the wet tires, so that threw us off this afternoon. When the rain started to come down, we just didn't adapt our car to it. The track started to dry, and when I came in between runs, we didn't want to make any changes to the car because we were considering putting on slicks. But then it started to rain again and it was too late to make a change, so we just had to live with a pretty dry set up car. That penalized us at the end, but hopefully the weather will be there for us tomorrow and then we can show what we can do on the dry track."

-credit: rsr

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani