ROCKETSPORTS AND TAGLIANI MAKE IT THROUGH A TOUGH RACE WEEKEND IN MEXICO CITY MEXICO CITY, Mexico (November 11, 2007) - It is unfortunate that there are only three days in a race weekend, as Rocketsports Racing and Alex Tagliani learned this ...
ROCKETSPORTS AND TAGLIANI MAKE IT THROUGH A TOUGH RACE WEEKEND IN MEXICO CITY
MEXICO CITY, Mexico (November 11, 2007) - It is unfortunate that there are only three days in a race weekend, as Rocketsports Racing and Alex Tagliani learned this weekend because they just did have enough time to find a race car that could do the job in Mexico City, Mexico for the 2007 Champ Car season finale.
Despite trying to make as many changes as possible on the car last night and this morning, it was still giving Tagliani problems on track. So the strategy for the race this afternoon was to do the best he could possibly do out there, knowing that the car was not going to be competitive enough for him to be able to put up a fight from starting 14th on the grid.
And if things could not get any worse for Tagliani, he stalled during the 14th Champ Car standing start of the season. This was the first time that Tagliani would not successfully get off the line when the green light displayed, but Champ Car was able to get him on his way. He was not the only car that stalled, as two others did as well causing Champ Car to throw the yellow flag on the first lap. Tagliani was able to catch up to the field, and took advantage of the open pits under yellow to fill up on fuel. That was a good move by the team, as good pit work by the #8 Rocketsports crew got him out ahead of Nelson Philippe, allowing him to obtain one track position and move back into the 14th spot. On the restart to officially kick off Champ Car racing in Mexico City, Tagliani was able to get around Alex Figge to move into the 13th spot.
Tagliani worked his way up to 11th by Lap 6, marking the highest position he would hold during the Gran Premio Tecate Presented by Banamex. The rest of the race, he was just trying to hold on. Tires were wearing fast and his car had a lot of understeer, but Tagliani did a good job keeping the car out of trouble to take the checkered flag on Lap 64.
Finishing 13th, the French-Canadian completed 62 of 64 laps this afternoon, finishing the race in a time of 1:45:21.303. His best time was posted on Lap 33 when he recorded a 1:27.881 (113.635 mph). His average speed of the race was 97.948 mph. There were only two caution periods in the race, and a total of 14 out of 17 cars finished in running status.
On a more positive note, this weekend's result locked Tagliani and the Rocketsports team in the top-ten of the 2007 Champ Car World Series championship. Finishing 10th overall, Tagliani earned a total of 205 points. This is the third time that Tagliani has finished in the top ten with Rocketsports during the three seasons that he has competed with the team in the series. This marks the sixth top-ten finish in the Champ Car World Series for Tagliani in his eight years of competition in the series, making this his sixth consecutive top ten finish in the standings. Rocketsports can add its fourth top-ten finish in the standings to the team's Champ Car racing resume with a driver since they formed a Champ Car team in 2003.
Also, giving credit where it is due, the team and driver did a great job this season in terms of laps completed. Only earning two DNF's (Did Not Finish), in Edmonton and San Jose, Edmonton and San Jose, Tagliani completed 1,031 out of 1,087 laps possible this season. Compared to the rest of the 17-car Champ Car field, he ranks 3rd in laps completed.
This weekend officially wraps up the 2007 Champ Car World Series. The team will pack up and head back to their East Lansing, Michigan-based shop to begin their focus on the 2008 racing year.
Alex Tagliani #8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone "It is definitely not the way that we wanted to end the season. For our last race together, it is definitively something that makes me sad, but we have been struggling with the #8 Rocketsports car all weekend. We have destroyed every set of tires that we put on the car during the race, because we never got the set up. The boys worked very hard in the pits, as everyone has been trying real hard. This is the type of track where everything needs to be perfect, like you need to have a car that allows you to go quick in medium-to-high speed corners, and we had such a bad, bad, bad push in the car that is was devastating out there on track when we were trying to make a long run. When we came out of the pits, it was like the first lap and second lap we were running an 1:27.800 lap time, so the performance out of a one-lap run was not bad, but five laps into the stint the car was going away so bad that we were dropping 5 seconds a lap and it was really tough to stay on line. So, it is a season filled with great potential, but with a couple of bad lucks that kept us from finishing on the podium and higher up in the championship. Overall, the team has been trying very hard all season, and I would like to thank them for all their hard work and dedication. Now we just have to look at the future. For me, I am already going to be looking for what I am going to be doing next year and Champ Car is definitely my choice."
Paul Gentilozzi, Rocketsports Racing Team Owner "The weekend wasn't all that bad; it was a great event. We just were not going to get a good race out of this, no matter how hard we tried and that was unfortunate. But after 38 years of racing, you learn realize you have bad days and that does not define who you are or who the people that try so hard. So we will just keep going."