CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Rocketsports Thursday report

Tagliani qualifies sixth in first session for the Cleveland Grand Prix round nine, Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford. Rocketsports' driver Alex Tagliani was sixth quickest in the first qualifying session for the ...

Tagliani qualifies sixth in first session for the Cleveland Grand Prix round nine, Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford.

Rocketsports' driver Alex Tagliani was sixth quickest in the first qualifying session for the Cleveland Grand Prix. Tagliani posted a fast lap of 59.247 (127.966 mph, 205.941 km/h) and was satisfied with the performance of the #33 Johnson Controls Lola.

"The car is very competitive this weekend and I feel good about it," said Tagliani. "I was out on my second flyer (fast lap for qualifying) and I was on my second set of tires, which were not even up to temperature yet. I lost pressure in the tires and the brakes locked up, so it was over for today, but I am confident it's a top five car."

The first-ever Champ Car night race on a road course brings a variety of changes to the usual weekend race schedule. The first practice session took place this afternoon at 2:00 pm and the qualifying session followed from 4:30 to 5:30 pm. Two more 50 minute practice sessions will take place tonight ending at 10:30 pm.

Although these late sessions make for a long day of driving, they give Tagliani and other drivers their first opportunity to practice night-driving on the Burke Lakefront Airport track under the Cleveland lights. "This schedule is new for all of us and it's been a long, hot day, but it should be interesting," said Tagliani. "I would have preferred to have another practice session before qualifying so early in the weekend, but I guess it's the only way to have all drivers on the track and test the lights at night," concluded Tagliani.

Fast Facts
-Tagliani is currently ninth in the Champ Car World Series standings with 46 points
-2002 Cleveland Tagliani started 14th and finished 5th
-2001 Cleveland Tagliani started 7th and finished 9th
-Tagliani finished eighth in the 2002 Championship standings with 111 points

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani