HOME VISIT LEAVES TEAM AUSTRALIA PUMPED FOR EDMONTON A promotional tour of Australia has given Team Australia drivers Will Power and Alex Tagliani a chance to visit the many fans the team has in Australia, leaving the two Aussie Vineyards...
HOME VISIT LEAVES TEAM AUSTRALIA PUMPED FOR EDMONTON
A promotional tour of Australia has given Team Australia drivers Will Power and Alex Tagliani a chance to visit the many fans the team has in Australia, leaving the two Aussie Vineyards drivers pumped for this weekend's West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix.
Tagliani and Power traveled halfway around the world after Round 7 of the Champ Car World Series in Toronto, Canada, an event where Tagliani moved up to fourth in the championship standings and Power reclaimed the lead of the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year title.
While in Australia, the two drivers did media interviews and mingled with fans in Brisbane, Sydney, Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Townsville and Cairns, before jumping back on a Qantas aircraft to jet back across the Pacific Ocean.
Some of the highlights of the trip included visiting Power's former primary school in Toowoomba, a tour of the spectacular Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, visiting the Ipswich Art Gallery's Driving Passion - Colours of Motorsport exhibition, assisting in the judging of a divisional final for the Bartercard Miss Lexmark Indy 300 competition and appearing on Network Ten's RPM television program.
But undoubtedly the most spectacular aspect of the tour was the demonstration on the streets of Townsville, where Power and Tagliani drove a Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Champ Car in front of 10,000 spectators in a tyre-smoking display. Team Australia co-owner Craig Gore was on hand for the demonstration, which also included a WPS Racing V8 Supercar driven by Max Wilson.
With the hectic tour now behind them, both Team Australia drivers are focused on the task at hand on the fast Edmonton circuit. Power used the Qantas flights to and from Australia to interrogate Tagliani regarding the Edmonton track, where Tagliani finished seventh last season. Both drivers and the entire Team Australia team will be doing there best to have both the green and gold cars amongst the front runners this weekend.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --
ALEX TAGLIANI -- #15 TEAM AUSTRALIA/AUSSIE VINEYARDS LOLA
"I'm really excited to go to Edmonton for many reasons," sad Tagliani.
"I love the track, it's a very physical track and it's not easy to pass. There are a lot of high speed corners which make it very difficult, but I'm not too worried about it because our car ran well there last year. This year will also be interesting because they have changed the track to make it more challenging, which should make for a nail biting race. Last year the promoters did a fantastic job of organising the event and the fans are very enthusiastic, so I really look forward to going back.
"Edmonton is one of my favorite races because I have a lot of friends there that I don't get to see very often. My friend Georges Laraque, who plays for the Edmonton Oilers and just signed with the Phoenix Coyotes two weeks ago, along with my friend Steve Charbonneau, who plays for the Edmonton Eskimos, will be there and I can't wait to see them both. On top of that we came away from Toronto with an amazing result and I'm pumped because the team did an awesome job.
"I'm so impressed with the way everyone worked together, I'm so proud of them. I hope to bring them home a podium finish this weekend."
WILL POWER -- #5 TEAM AUSTRALIA/AUSSIE VINEYARDS LOLA
"Edmonton is very fast, which is just my style," said Power.
"From tapes I've reviewed on the track it's a European style circuit. I did a lot of racing on that type of track in Europe, so I've practiced it a lot. I think the Aussie Vineyards car will be really strong on this circuit as well. It maybe a hard track to overtake, but that will make it a more interesting race.
"Luckily I have a veteran team-mate, Alex (Tagliani), who has been giving me a lot of pointers. With us both being on a 14-hour Qantas flight to Australia, and then back again, these past few days is great because I can bleed as much information out of him as possible. He's been really helpful and he knows a lot about the track. This should be an exciting and hopefully positive weekend for the team. I'm really confident and ready to go racing."
DERRICK WALKER -- TEAM AUSTRALIA CO-OWNER
"Edmonton is one of the best tracks we go to on the circuit," said Walker.
"The layout is great for the spectators and the fans in Edmonton are really supportive of open-wheel racing and support the race very well. We had a pretty good car there last year. It was our first year with the Lola, so we were on a steep learning curve, but as I recall Edmonton was one of our better events, so let's hope history repeats itself.
"If we have the car pretty close for all four drivers, then Edmonton will suit them all very well. I really think if we can recapture some of the magic from last year in the set-up then the drivers will really maximise on it quite well this year."
CRAIG GORE - TEAM AUSTRALIA CO-OWNER
"Will and Tags have had a very busy couple of weeks since the last round with their trip to Australia as a part of the launch for the Lexmark Indy 300," said Gore.
"It was great to see so many Team Australia fans in Townsville for the launch and also during their visits to Brisbane, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Cairns and Sydney.
"Now it's time to get back to business on the race track at Edmonton. During the first Champ Car race held there last year Tags finished seventh in front of a big crowd. I'm confident with the steps forward that the team has made over the past 12 months he'll be able to go even better this year.
"Will has been impressive so far this year, showing some exceptional speed and I think a finish inside the top five isn't too far away for him. He is currently the leading rookie in the championship and a good result this weekend will assist him in extending his lead in the chase for the rookie title."