CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Rocketsports Racing Saturday notes

TAGLIANI AND ROCKETSPORTS CONTINUE TO FIGHT HARD IN MEXICO CITY BUT COME UP SHORT MEXICO CITY, Mexico (November 10, 2007) - Despite a beautiful sunny, warm day in Mexico City, and a quicker race track, Alex Tagliani and his Rocketsports Racing...

TAGLIANI AND ROCKETSPORTS CONTINUE TO FIGHT HARD IN MEXICO CITY BUT COME UP SHORT

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (November 10, 2007) - Despite a beautiful sunny, warm day in Mexico City, and a quicker race track, Alex Tagliani and his Rocketsports Racing team were unable to improve the #8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone, which lead to a disappointing starting position for the 2007 Champ Car season finale.

Hoping that today would be better then yesterday, the team continued to struggle here in Mexico City. The morning practice saw the #8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone in the pits for a good majority of the session, as the team worked very hard to find a car set-up that would be decent on track. After five laps run this morning, Tagliani posted a time of 1:26.957 (114.843 mph) and sat fifth overall. However, he was unable to improve that time as the 75-minute practice session continued. That time put him 16th overall on the Champ Car timing and scoring charts after the checkered flag dropped to end the session. He completed 23 laps, and despite spending quite a bit of time in the pits working on the car, he was consistent in total laps run with the rest of the field.

During the practice segment of final qualifying this afternoon, Tagliani completed seven laps and sat 12th with a time of 1:27.302. However, he was still not happy with the #8 Rocketsports car, saying that there was a small improvement with the car, but it was definitely not enough. Tagliani ran both of his two qualifying stints on the softer Bridgestone Red Potenza tires. His first run consisted of six laps, followed by four more laps to complete the session. He posted his best time of the afternoon, and weekend, on his third qualifying lap by recording a time of 1:25.446 (116.874 mph). That time was only good enough to put him 14th on the grid. Tagliani will make his 131st Champ Car start, sixth start in Mexico City, from the outside of row seven.

Despite not qualifying well, the team can hope to complete the race in running status. The team has completed 428 out of 468 laps possible (91%). So anything can happen, even when you are starting towards the back of the pack, as long the driver can run a clean race and cross the finish line. Ironically, Tagliani's first year with the Rocketsports team in 2002 saw him start 14th and finish tenth. The team's goal is to salvage a tenth-place result, after a difficult weekend this season.

There will be a 30-minute Warm Up session tomorrow morning before the race festivities are underway in the afternoon. The Rocketsports team will grid their Champ Car at 12:15 p.m. local time, awaiting a 1:00 p.m. CT race start. The race is scheduled to be a timed race, with the limit of one hour and forty-five minutes (1:45). The standings start rule will be in effect to officially begin the sixth running of the Gran Premio Tecate Presented by Banamex in Mexico City, Mexico. In the 13 previous 2007 races, when a Champ Car driver utilized the Cosworth Power-to-Pass on the Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone, they would benefit from an additional 50 horsepower. The P2P boost is available for 60 seconds, to be used at a driver's discretion during a race, providing a strategic element to Champ Car racing. When drivers push the P2P button during the Nov. 11 season finale at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit, however, they will have an additional 50 horsepower to enhance their ability to pass other cars, as well as additional 15 seconds of use (75 seconds total).

The race can be seen live in the United States on ESPN2 with coverage from Mexico City beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET. Fans can also follow the Rocketsports team on the internet by logging onto www.champcar.ws and signing up for Race Director. For more information, check out www.rocketsportsracing.com.

Alex Tagliani #8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone "Our luck did not change from yesterday. We are still struggling to find a good car here in Mexico City. I want to thank the #8 Rocketsports crew for all of their hard work today. We made a lot of changes in hopes of finding a quicker car, so they were very busy today; I just wish that all of our hard work could have paid off today. The #8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone is still struggling, the car has a lot of understeer and it is not stable in the rear. If we can't find a decent car by tomorrow, then it is going to be a long race. We can't work miracles, but we are definitely trying very hard to figure out what is going on. Obviously, I am disappointed with starting 14th, but that is where we will take the green flag tomorrow. We will give it our best and hopefully we can salvage a top-ten finish tomorrow, and clinch a tenth-place result in the 2007 championship."

-credit: rsr

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani