Tagliani looks for magic at Laguna Seca in the Monterey Grand Prix. Monterey, Calif. June 9, 2003 - As Rocketsports driver Alex Tagliani prepares his return to the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in round seven of the Bridgestone Presents The CART ...
Tagliani looks for magic at Laguna Seca in the Monterey Grand Prix.
Monterey, Calif. June 9, 2003 - As Rocketsports driver Alex Tagliani prepares his return to the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in round seven of the Bridgestone Presents The CART Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, he'll focus on all the variables that may affect his drive in the Grand Prix of Monterey. "I'm working with Will Phillips and Adam Schaechter (Rocketsports engineers) to set up the #33 Johnson Controls Lola for the Mazda Raceway. There are many different ways to approach it and we leave nothing to chance. We look at the data we have and apply it to the demands of the track. This is a very unusual road course as there are a lot of elevation changes," explained Tagliani. "We then look for that magical configuration that makes us go fast. There's a certain chemistry I'm searching for, when the set-up, conditions and driving strategy all come together."
Things have been coming together for Tagliani who currently sits in tenth position in the series standings with 32 points. Tagliani and the Rocketsports team have secured a third place podium finish, two third place starts and a pole position in the first six races of the 2003 CART Champ Car season. "Starting from the pole in Milwaukee was just another step up the ladder for the Rocketsports team. It was our first pole and we are aiming for many more. There are major differences between the Milwaukee Mile and the 2.3 mile Laguna Seca road course, but we've posted consistently fast laps at each race," says Tagliani, aware of the outstanding precedent he has set. "Sure, people pay attention to our progress and there's always pressure to get good results, but that kind of pressure is good," concluded Tagliani with his typical 'go-getter' energy.
Tagliani experienced his greatest successes at Laguna Seca during his Toyota Atlantics days with third and fourth place finishes in 1997 and 1998 respectively. In 2002 at Laguna Seca, Tagliani qualified seventh and finished tenth. The Mazda Raceway continues to be one of his favorite circuits in a place he feels the support of fans and the thrill of racing. "This part of California is so beautiful. Fans love to travel here and camp out over the weekend. It's a great track for spectators, especially at the corkscrew," says Tagliani. "It is one of the more physical, difficult tracks on the schedule with high G-force and fast corners, but that makes it even more of a challenge to drive."