CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: Team Australia preview

TEAM AUSTRALIA AND THE AUSSIE VINEYARDS CARS ALL READY TO GO FOR DENVER Team Australia has used a two-week break in the Champ Car World Series to take stock and ready for an attack on the final stages of the season, with the first assignment ...

TEAM AUSTRALIA AND THE AUSSIE VINEYARDS CARS ALL READY TO GO FOR DENVER

Team Australia has used a two-week break in the Champ Car World Series to take stock and ready for an attack on the final stages of the season, with the first assignment being this weekend's tenth round at the Grand Prix of Denver sponsored by Bridgestone.

The Aussie Vineyards squad decided at the Edmonton round that it would not attend the open test at Road America in Wisconsin on August 3-4, instead deciding to use the time to repair the inventory of Team Australia Lolas and give the crew some much needed time to recuperate after eight major repair efforts already this season.

Will Power used the time to step up his physical training, following the example of his ultra-fit Aussie Vineyards team-mate Alex Tagliani. The additional time spent cycling, swimming and doing weights is all part of Power's goal for the rest of the season, where the Queenslander will not only be aiming to extend his lead in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year standings, but also push his #5 Aussie Vineyards entry into the top 10 in the championship.

Tagliani used last weekend to drive a Ford-powered race car of a different kind, when the Team Australia star competed in the Grand-Am Cup Series at the Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres in Quebec, Canada. The Aussie Vineyards driver finished 11th in the #4 Blackforest Motorsports Mustang GT partnering fellow Canadian Valerie Limoges.

With Team Australia's inventory of Lola Champ Cars now repaired and ready for this weekend's action in Denver, both Power and Tagliani will be giving their all to get the Aussie Vineyards squad's second podium for the season and push higher up the championship table. While Tagliani has dropped to 10th in the points he is only 15 points away from fourth place, and Power only 18 points away from the same position, making this weekend a crucial round for both.

Everyone at Team Australia has also had one of its friends and rivals in their thoughts over the past week in RuSport driver, 2001 Lexmark Indy 300 winner and 2002 Champ Car World Series champion Cristiano da Matta.

Da Matta remains in hospital after a serious testing accident at Road America on August 3 and everyone involved in the Team Australia program, on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, extends their best wishes to da Matta, his family and friends and the entire RuSport team.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --

Alex Tagliani -- #15 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola

"Last year we had a pretty good run in Denver," said Tagliani.

"We qualified well with sixth position, but unfortunately it ended up being a nasty race for us, because I got taken out in a crash at the first corner. It was really disappointing because we were two tenths of a second from third.

"Needless to say, I'm really excited to go back and see the end of the race. The whole team is really pumped and ready to go. Denver is an important race for us to catch back up in the points."

Will Power -- #5 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola

"I've seen the Denver circuit up close before because I was a spectator there last year and really enjoyed the event, so I'm even more excited that I get to be a part of it this year," said Power.

"It was a lot of fun and the promoters put on a really good show. The track is very similar to San Jose, in that it's a normal street course, where you have to have good braking and good power down and there are no very fast corners.

"There are two really good passing opportunities at Denver and I'm really excited to get to race on the circuit this year."

Derrick Walker -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"First I want to say that our thoughts are with Cristiano da Matta and the whole RuSport team," said Walker.

"We are hoping he has a safe and quick recovery."

"Denver is one of the classic, long line of street races. The track is a little easier than San Jose and there is more room to drive. The biggest thing about Denver is that it is another classic Champ Car event. It has a great promoter and it's in a city that loves sports. The atmosphere of Denver is classic Champ Car and when you look at it for us, we've got a fairly good street course set-up.

"I think we should do a lot better than we did last year. Also in Denver, the pit lane affords us a little bit more room and we will better able us to restrain the drivers from fighting behind the pit lane."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"The Denver race is yet another event on the Champ Car schedule that is well promoted and pulls a large and enthusiastic crowd," said Gore.

"I hear the Denver natives appreciate a good drop of wine, so it would be great for Alex and Will to get the Aussie Vineyards cars near the front on race day.

"Both drivers and the whole Team Australia crew have been doing Aussie Vineyards and all our sponsors proud so far this season, but I know that they are keen to take the results to the next level for this last part of the season."

-credit: team australia

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Valérie Limoges , Will Power , Cristiano da Matta