CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Team Australia preview

TEAM AUSTRALIA ON TRACK TO END SEASON ON A HIGH IN MEXICO CITY Team Australia will be out to end the 2006 Champ Car World Series with a season-best result when the green and gold squad takes to the track for the 14th and final round of ...


Team Australia will be out to end the 2006 Champ Car World Series with a season-best result when the green and gold squad takes to the track for the 14th and final round of the championship in Mexico City this weekend.

The speed shown by Team Australia at its home event on the Gold Coast has given tremendous momentum to the Aussie Vineyards-backed team. The outfit is confident of carrying the recent pace into this weekend's race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

Australian star and leading rookie Will Power qualified on pole position and led 13 laps of the Lexmark Indy 300 and his experienced team-mate Alex Tagliani drove a smart race to finish in third place, taking his second podium result of the season.

For Power this weekend's event marks only the second time this season the Toowoomba-born driver will race at a circuit for the second time in Champ Car. The first repeat race venue for Power was his home race in Australia, the results obvious as Power impressed in front of his home crowd.

Power achieved his first top 10 finish in Champ Car in Mexico City last season in only his second race. His expectations for the event are much higher this year as he chases his first Champ Car podium, but as usual Power is relaxed heading into this weekend's race. Power is also a good chance of rising in the championship standings, currently lying eighth in the points.

Tagliani has raced at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on four previous occasions, twice finishing in the top 10, including last year with Team Australia.

The Canadian is back in the top 10 in the championship after his podium result in Australia and another strong result could see him equal his best-ever Champ Car World Series championship finish of seventh in the standings.


Will Power -- #5 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola

"Going into Mexico I don't feel any added pressure as a result of getting pole in Australia," said Power.

"I'm more interested to see if we can carry the speed we had there on the street course to a road course in Mexico. This circuit is more of a European style circuit and the best bit about it is that I've been there before so I don't have to learn it.

"We are fighting for the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year title, but basically we are going into the race weekend thinking like we always do, trying to qualify as high as possible and treating the race as a normal race.

"We need a good solid finish and hopefully we can score another pole and get on the podium for the last race of the year."

Alex Tagliani -- #15 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola

"I'm going to take the last race of the season one session at a time," said Tagliani.

"Mexico City is a track I really like and being the last race of the year I want it to be the best result of the season. I plan to take it session by session and push as hard as I can.

"Throughout the season we have had some misfortune but in Australia it turned around for us, so I've got a good feeling going into Mexico City."

Derrick Walker -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"Mexico City is important to the whole team as we have done a similar preparation to Surfers Paradise and focused on some specific areas of the car to increase our speed and capability," said Walker.

"I will be really interested to see how well we continue with the roll that we are on right now where we have gained some knowledge that has helped us competitively to end the season on a high."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"At the beginning of this year we sat down and worked out our goals," said Gore.

"One of those was for Will (Power) to win the Champ Car Rookie of the Year and this weekend he has the opportunity to realise just that.

"Will has done a fantastic job this season and there is no doubt that the last round at Surfers Paradise was the highlight so far. He took the pole and probably should have taken the race, if not for Bourdais taking him out.

"It has been a terrific year for the Team Australia program, which I need to keep reminding myself is just in its second season.

"We won the Champ Car Atlantic Championship, have been competitive in Champ Car, have had a pole and a top three finish with Marcos Ambrose in the NASCAR Trucks and Will now has a 15 point lead in the rookie of the year contest with one round remaining.

"Mexico is one of only two tracks that Will will compete at this season where he has run before. The other was Surfers Paradise and we saw the results of those efforts.

"Will needs to attack this weekend like any other and the results will come. He has a chance to do himself and his country proud and I am sure he will get the job done.

"He has a chance to create history as the first ever Australian rookie of the year and he deserves it."

-credit: team australia

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Marcos Ambrose , Will Power