CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston: RSPORTS Saturday report

WILSON TO START THIRD IN THE GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON FOR RSPORTS HOUSTON, Texas (April 21, 2007) -- It was a rewarding day for the RSPORTS team with driver Justin Wilson who rounded out the top three in qualifying this afternoon on the streets of...

WILSON TO START THIRD IN THE GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON FOR RSPORTS

HOUSTON, Texas (April 21, 2007) -- It was a rewarding day for the RSPORTS team with driver Justin Wilson who rounded out the top three in qualifying this afternoon on the streets of Houston, Texas while Alex Tagliani sits 11th on the grid for the Grand Prix of Houston.

This morning's practice session results were almost like looking into the crystal ball to predict the future for Wilson. The Englishman posted a quick time of 58.677 (103.257 mph) on his 37th and final lap of the session, which moved him into the top three before final qualifying this afternoon. The #9 CDW crew seemed pleased with the car and optimistic for the final round of qualifying.

Once final qualifying took the green flag, Wilson headed out in the #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone for his first run on the softer compound Red Bridgestone Potenza Tires. Following a red flag, Wilson took to the 1.683-mile temporary street course in Houston with the entire field, making it a very busy track. On his fourth-timed lap, Wilson sat P2 with a time of 59.216. Upon completion of his first stint, which consisted of seven laps, he remained in the top three with a time of 57.722. With just six minutes left in the session, Wilson went back out for his second run in final qualifying with a fresh set of Red Bridgestone Potenza Tires. On his 12th and final orbit, he recorded a time of 57.533 (105.310 mph) which locked him third on the grid. Making his best start in 2007, Wilson will start on the inside of row two when the green flag drops for the start of the Grand Prix of Houston at JAGFlo Speedway at ReliantPark.

Tagliani's run this morning consisted of making a lot of changes to the #8 LXN2 in hopes of finding more speed for the second round of qualifying. After running consistently in the top five yesterday, he struggled to find the speed he needed to improve. After the morning practice session, the French-Canadian sat eighth overall on the Champ Car timing and scoring charts after running a quick time of 59.078 (102.556 mph).

Tagliani went out for his first six-lap stint this afternoon in final qualifying on Red Bridgestone Potenza Tires. Upon completion of his first run, he sat in the eighth spot with a quick time of 59.269. With about seven minutes left of green flag time, Tagliani put on a fresh set of Reds and headed back out with determination to earn a better starting position for tomorrow's race. On his 12th and final lap he was on a good run, which was estimated to have moved him into the sixth spot, but a red flag would come out and ruin his chances of improving his best time of 58.198. Once the official qualifying results came out, Tagliani would lose his fastest lap after being penalized for a qualifying interference. However, his second quickest lap of the session was a 58.261 (103.994 mph), which did not change his final position this afternoon. Tagliani, who sits second in the 2007 Champ Car championship standings, will start in the 11th spot, a disappointing starting position after earning two fourth-place starts in Las Vegas and Long Beach.

Quotes

Justin Wilson #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"I'm very pleased with the progress we're making. Every session this year we've understood the car a bit more. We're getting stronger all the time. Hopefully it will continue and we can have a good race tomorrow. Getting a clear lap in qualifying is very difficult. On lap 12, I got one and put in quite a good time, but I knew there was plenty more in the #9 CDW/RSPORTS car. We found at Long Beach we could race very well, but when you start in the middle, it's very hard to improve. Here, starting at the front, I hope we can have a good race tomorrow for CDW and finish at least on the podium, if not somewhere near the top.

Alex Tagliani #8 LXN2 Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"We are obviously disappointed with our qualifying result this afternoon because we are not where we wanted to be. We made a lot of changes this morning, but they did not work out the way we were hoping. In the afternoon, we made some more changes to the #8 LXN2/RSPORTS car to get our car closer to that of Justin's. The car is definitely the best we have had all weekend, but we are just not there all the way. The car has been difficult to drive all weekend. I have been experiencing a lot of locking up so that has been a challenge. We will keep working hard and hopefully tonight and tomorrow morning in warm-up we will be able to get a car that will be good for the race. We will try to have a good race strategy so that we can get the #8 LXN2/RSPORTS car back upfront."

-credit: rsports

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani