THE GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON WAS A CRASH COURSE THAT RSPORTS GOT IN THE MIDDLE OF RESULTING IN A DISAPPOINTING 9TH AND 10TH PLACE RESULT HOUSTON, Texas -- RSPORTS experienced the highs and lows of racing this afternoon in Houston, seeing both Alex...
THE GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON WAS A CRASH COURSE THAT RSPORTS GOT IN THE MIDDLE OF RESULTING IN A DISAPPOINTING 9TH AND 10TH PLACE RESULT
HOUSTON, Texas -- RSPORTS experienced the highs and lows of racing this afternoon in Houston, seeing both Alex Tagliani and Justin Wilson bounce up and down in the race order. Tagliani reached as high as fifth; while teammate Wilson took the lead early on, but obstacles throughout the 93-lap Grand Prix of Houston saw them salvage a ninth and tenth place finish, respectively.
Tagliani started in the 11th spot and by Lap 6 he had made his way into the top ten and sat eighth on a race track that so many drivers say is a hard one to overtake on. When he came in for his first pit stop of the day he sat P6 and things seemed to be going well for the French-Canadian. However, it was during that stop when things went wrong. Fueling issues would cause the #8 LXN2/RSPORTS car to stay in the pits longer then usual and drop Tagliani down to the 13th spot.
Tagliani charged hard once again to move up into the ninth position before making another pit stop. He came out of the pits in 12th and was planning on using strategy and future position to make his way back to the sixth spot. Then on Lap 51, Wilson and Will Power touched and the field bunched up. Tagliani spun after Katherine Legge hit him from behind, but was able to continue. His highest position in the race of fifth occurred on Lap 72 when he headed in for his final pit stop of the day. He came out of that stop in 10th, was passed by Wilson, but regained the position and obtained one more to cross the finish line ninth overall.
Starting from the inside of row two in the third spot, Wilson charged hard at the drop of the green flag that kicked off Round Three of the 2007 Champ Car World Series. After Sebastien Bourdais cut through the first chicane to take the lead from pole sitter Will Power, Wilson was able to get his own momentum going to get around Power and move into second. Two laps later, Champ Car forced Bourdais to give up one position (the one position he gained after taking the short cut) which put the Englishman in the lead. Wilson paced the 17-car field for 12 laps before the eventual race winner Bourdais reclaimed the lead. After coming in for his first pit stop of the day on Lap 29, Wilson sat fourth after taking a full load of fuel and new tires. He would run there until Lap 51, when an unfortunate incident happened between Wilson and fifth-place runner Will Power which put him down to the 13th spot. A punctured rear tire would force Wilson into the pits earlier then they had planned, costing him a better result this afternoon.
Wilson took the checkered flag in the tenth spot, rounding out a double top-ten result for RSPORTS in Houston. He currently sits eighth in the championship standings with a total of 41 points. Tagliani now sits fourth in the Champ Car championship standings with a total of 57 points.
The RSPORTS team will have a little time to rest before taking some time to test during the six-week break in the Champ Car schedule. The fourth round of Champ Car World Series competition will take the green flag in Portland, Oregon on June 10.
Alex Tagliani #8 LXN2 Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone
"We had a fueling issue, which ultimately hurt us today in the Grand Prix of Houston. The #8 LXN2/RSPORTS car was better in the race, and it showed because I was passing a lot of people at the beginning. We got up to the sixth spot after starting 11th. Then we came in for our first pit stop, but the fuel was not going in. Once we were getting back on track from the fueling issue, Katherine (Legge) hit me from behind, which caused me to spin and fall way back in the field. That threw off everything we had been working for and I had to get my way around all the people that I had passed earlier on. So it is very unfortunate for the RSPORTS team, because the guys did an excellent job for me today. If we wouldn't have had that incident our strategy and placement at the time, would have gotten me a sixth place finish. But we are still up there in the championship points standing, so that is good and we will get back at it in Portland where I hope we can earn our first podium finish."
Justin Wilson #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone
"The CDW crew did a great job for me today which allowed me to be competitive in today's race. We were working on saving fuel and then Will Power tried to make a pass on me that just wasn't going to happen. Contact with Power punctured my rear tire and ultimately ruined our day. We had to pit for a new tire, which completely messed up our strategy. It is just very disappointing for the RSPORTS team and CDW. We could have had a better result, but we will move on to the next race and hope for a better finish."
Paul Gentilozzi, RSPORTS team co-owner
"A race requires us getting the fuel we need, exactly when we need it. However, that was not the way the day went for the #8 LXN2 crew. We had no major issues with the fueling in the first two races when we were fueling from the right side. The race direction here in Houston was different then in Las Vegas and Long Beach, which caused us to change the fueling sides on the Champ Cars, and it just didn't work the way it was supposed to on this side for us today. But we showed that Alex had a competitive car today, he made some nice passes, actually passed the same people twice this afternoon, and should have deserved a better finish. But we got through it, the car is in one piece and now we will prepare for Portland."
Dan Pettit, RSPORTS team co-owner
"The #9 CDW team did a lot of work to finish in the tenth spot. It is very disappointing. The RSPORTS team and Justin did exactly what they were supposed to do today. It is a shame that an avoidable incident cost us a good result today. But that is racing, it was just a though day."