TEAM AUSTRALIA'S TAGLIANI CELEBRATES 100th CHAMP CAR START Team Australia star Alex Tagliani will celebrate his 100th start in the Champ Car World Series in this weekend's Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver presented by PacifiCare. The ...
TEAM AUSTRALIA'S TAGLIANI CELEBRATES 100th CHAMP CAR START
Team Australia star Alex Tagliani will celebrate his 100th start in the Champ Car World Series in this weekend's Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver presented by PacifiCare.
The Canadian star made his debut at Homestead in 2000, qualifying 4th fastest in his first ever event.
Now in his sixth season in the Champ Car World Series, Tagliani has amassed 12 podiums (including 2 this year for Team Australia), four pole positions and earned his first victory at Road America in 2004.
After eight races in 2005, Tagliani is eighth in the points standings but lies only 2 points behind AJ Allmendinger in 5th place.
At the last round, Tagliani and team-mate Marcus Marshall suffered a series of push rod failures over the rough track surface at the San Jose Grand Prix.
In preparation for this weekend's Denver event, the duo headed to Australia where they tested for Team Australia co-owner Craig Gore's WPS Racing V8 Supercar team. Tagliani and Marshall will compete together in the two traditional Australian endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst.
ALEX TAGLIANI - #15 AUSSIE VINEYARDS, LOLA
"It seems like years ago that I made my debut -- I am actually pretty surprised it has been 100 races already.
"I have never had good cars at Denver previously but I am extremely confident we will be strong this week -- the car has been really good ever since Portland.
"We have had a bit of a run of little things going astray including the broken suspension pushrod issues at San Jose.
"But the team has been working very hard and we have lots of improvements coming along all the time.
"Team Australia has been playing catch-up with the Lola all year, but Derrick and the guys have done a fantastic job and I am confident we should figure in the top five for the rest of the year.
"Denver is always a challenge because it is such a low grip surface. A lot of the track is concrete so it takes a long while to build up some rubber on the surface."
MARCUS MARSHALL - #5 AUSSIE VINEYARDS, LOLA
"This will be another new track for me and from what I hear, it certainly isn't a high grip surface at Denver.
"The Aussie Vineyards squad has been working very hard since San Jose -- we had a tough weekend last round and Denver will be a great place for us to bounce back.
"The San Jose race was a great event, brilliant atmosphere, but we just had a really tough weekend coping with the bumps.
"Tag and I have had a chance to fly down to Australia between races and get a few laps under our belt in the V8 Supercar we will drive in the two big endurance races in Australia later this year.
"Craig Gore owns a V8 Supercar team back home and Tag and I are going to team up for the big races at Sandown and Bathurst.
"It is certainly dramatically different from the Team Australia Champ Car. I have done plenty of laps in them before but it was an entirely new experience for Tag.
"I have been learning a lot from Tag all year, but this time around with the V8, he was asking me all the questions -- that was quite a change."
DERRICK WALKER -- CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA
"The track at Denver changes considerably over the course of the weekend so you have to be able to react to those changes accordingly.
"The race really is an outstanding event with excellent management and it continues to improve every year.
"The track is a bit bumpy in places, but it is fairly tame in that regards compared to San Jose.
"San Jose was a tough weekend for us but we are looking forward to bouncing back at Denver this weekend.
"The really positive aspect of the last round was the fact that although the track wasn't as good as we would have liked, there was a significant resolve throughout the paddock to put on a show and make it worth it for the fans.
"That is a very promising sign for Champ Car -- everybody is committed to making our series as good and strong as it can be."
CRAIG GORE -- CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA
"Things have been pretty busy with Team Australia and with our home race on the Gold Coast just a couple of months away.
"No one has panicked after our problems on the new circuit at San Jose in the last round and every indication is that we will have a reasonable package for Denver this weekend.
"The whole Team Australia concept is progressing very well and we saw the first stages of our integration process last week when Alex and Marcus came over and drove our V8 Supercars in a test at Queensland Raceway.
"There is a good feel about this weekend with Alex knocking on the door of a top five place in the championship."