CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Rocketsports race report

Tagliani finishes eighth in Cleveland Grand Prix Round Nine, Bridgestone presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford Alex Tagliani, driver of the ...

Tagliani finishes eighth in Cleveland Grand Prix Round Nine, Bridgestone presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford

Alex Tagliani, driver of the #33 Johnson Controls Lola finished eighth in the 22nd Annual Cleveland Grand Prix and came away impressed with the first-ever Champ Car night race on a road course. Tagliani started seventh and claimed his sixth top-ten finish in nine starts, including two podiums, for Rocketsports Racing. Tagliani earned five race points and remains in ninth position in the series standings with a total of 51 points.

"I'm proud of the Rocketsports team because they gave me a very good car," said Tagliani. "I was trying to pass Carpentier at the start and I guess Dominguez didn't see me. We made contact in my front end and damaged the suspension. The car was very difficult to manage; especially turning right, after the tow-link was damaged. I came into the pits and my crew chief, Tom Howatt, even jumped on it to try and straighten it out, but it was damaged, so I did my best with it. The car was unbelievable though. Even with the broken tow-link dragging me down, we were fourth quickest at one point," explained Tagliani.

"Later in the race, I hoped to catch Servia and Jourdain, but couldn't get passed Papis, who was already lapped. That was very frustrating for me and other drivers who were blocked as well," said Tagliani. "Overall it was a good race. Without losing our ground, I think we could have had a top-four finish."

Tagliani completed 115 laps on the 2.106 mile track on the Burke Lakefront Airport strip in front of 112, 232 people over the 4th of July weekend. "The night race was a success and the stands were full. We are fortunate that everything went well. We learned a lot about how to use the lights at night and we can be prepared in the future when we run at night and possibly face bad conditions. I would recommend more lights overall, but especially in the back section were it could be quite dark between turn seven and eight," concluded Tagliani.

Earlier this afternoon in a Champ Car Fan Forum, Rocketsports team owner, Paul Gentilozzi, spoke about Tagliani and said he was 100% happy the driver he chose to run the # 33 Johnson Controls Lola. "I appreciate that Tagliani is a racer first and foremost. He's highly competitive and that's what I wanted in a driver," said Gentilozzi.

Fast Facts

Tagliani is currently ninth in the Champ Car World Series standings with 51 points
2002 Cleveland Tagliani started 14th and finished 5th
2001 Cleveland Tagliani started 7th and finished 9th

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Paul Gentilozzi