TAGLIANI CHARGES INTO TOP TEN IN DENVER Team Australia bounced back from yesterday's tough "day at the office" to grab a top ten qualifying spot for tomorrow's Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver presented by Pacificare. Alex Tagliani made...
TAGLIANI CHARGES INTO TOP TEN IN DENVER
Team Australia bounced back from yesterday's tough "day at the office" to grab a top ten qualifying spot for tomorrow's Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver presented by Pacificare.
Alex Tagliani made a signifcant improvement to be 7th fastest today with a time of 60.156 - his best ever qualifying position on the streets of Denver.
The qualifying performance puts him in an ideal position to challenge championship rivals AJ Allmendinger, Mario Dominquez and Jimmy Vasser who all lie within two points of Tagliani's championship total of 124.
Team-mate Marcus Marshall was not as fortunate however with a late-session qualifying crash forcing him to forgo his fastest time for the second day in a row.
Marshall's Aussie Vineyards Lola suffered slight suspension damage and a flat tire in the incident.
Team Australia will undergo final preparations during tomorrow morning's warm-up before the race begins at 1.45pm (local time) - 5.45am Monday morning (AEST).
ALEX TAGLIANI -- CAR #15
"I am very happy because this is my best ever starting position here in Denver. The team did a brilliant job in the past 24 hours because we were really struggling yesterday. "We definitely improved the car quite a bit today -- especially under brakes. Starting in the top ten will make a big difference for our plan to move up in the championship. I am only two points from being in the top five, so that is certainly our target."
"There is still a little bit more pace in the car. I was up two tenths of a second on my last run, but we overshot the tire pressure and I ran up the escape road."
"Another two tenths would have put me in the top four. I am very proud of what the guys at Team Australia did and I am really looking forward to the race tomorrow."
"I expect there is going to be a lot of attrition at this track and hopefully I will be able to stay out of trouble."
MARCUS MARSHALL -- CAR #5
"Losing my fastest lap two days in a row is pretty disappointing but unfortunately I made a mistake and backed it into the tires."
"We bent the suspension a little and had a puncture so that ended my day."
"We made a change part way through the session which really improved the car, but we didn't get to make an impact on the timing screen."
"We have had a tough weekend so far, but to be honest I expected that was going to happen from time to time in my rookie year."
"It is a tough learning experience and today I learned the hard way."
"However, tomorrow I think the car will be OK in race conditions and although traditionally this race hasn't had a lot of yellows, the level and intensity of the competition this year may bring out a few more this year."
DERRICK WALKER -- CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA
"I think perseverance paid off for us today. We worked out a direction as to where we wanted to go with the set-up of the car yesterday and kept working away at that. There is still a little more speed to come in the car but all the hard work certainly has us pointing in the right direction."
"We only have one more session tomorrow but we will be filling the cars up with fuel to check how they are in race conditions -- the guys will really be working with a different type of race car when they are on full tanks."
"For Marcus to lose his fastest lap two days in a row is a real shame. He was on a good lap when he went off which is disappointing for him but he just has to keep persevering."
"We will go over the car carefully tonight to ensure everything is fine and work on giving him a good consistent racecar tomorrow."
CRAIG GORE -- CO-OWNER, TEAM AUSTRALIA
"I am very impressed with what the guys have achieved in the past 24 hours. The timesheet didn't look pretty yesterday but everyone worked exceptionally hard to turn that around to get a top ten start."
"When we come back here next year after a year's experience with the Lola we will be in an even stronger position."
"It was also great to see our Formula BMW team run its first Aussie today with Michael Patrizi."
"He did a great job today to finish fifth and this is another step towards building our staircase of talent for young Australia."
"The entire goal of Team Australia is to provide our drivers with the chance to shine on an international stage and also provide the same opportunities for corporate Australia as well."
TEAM AUSTRALIA - FORMULA BMW
Perth's Michael Patrizi made a strong debut for Team Australia today in the Denver round of the Formula BMW USA Championship.
The Formula BMW Asia star finished fifth in his first ever race in the US - fighting back after losing a couple of positions early in the race due to a lack of straight line speed.
Patrizi is the first young Australian to drive the Walker Racing-entered Team Australia Formula BMW. Next year Team Australia plan to run two Champ Cars, two Formula Atlantics and two Formula BMWs in the US.
MICHAEL PATRIZI - TEAM AUSTRALIA FORMULA BMW
"I am really greatful to Craig (Gore) and Derrick (Walker) for the opportunity to make my debut here in the US."
"We were off a little bit on gearing which made it tough to battle with some of the guys for straight line speed, but I was keen to keep my head and not do anything silly to keep them behind. The competition here is very fierce and my aim was to keep the car on the road. Any positions I lost at the end of the straight, I picked up from guys trying moves which didn't come off which sent them off the road."
"I'd love to race some more in the US and hope I can do some more races for Team Australia in the future."