CHAMPCAR/CART: Milwaukee: Team Australia qualifying report

TEAM AUSTRALIA CONFIDENT OF OVERNIGHT TURNAROUND Team Australia is confident it can improve its cars overnight and be in contention for a strong points finish in the third round of the Champ Car World Series at the famous Milwaukee Mile in ...

TEAM AUSTRALIA CONFIDENT OF OVERNIGHT TURNAROUND

Team Australia is confident it can improve its cars overnight and be in contention for a strong points finish in the third round of the Champ Car World Series at the famous Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin tomorrow.

Alex Tagliani was 11th fastest after today's qualifying in his Aussie Vineyards-backed Team Australia Lola, after having his progress hampered in the morning practice by some set-up problems.

Gold Coaster Marcus Marshall has qualified 15th for his first ever oval race and is looking forward to the challenge of 225 laps of the Milwaukee Mile, which is promoted as the oldest race track in North America.

Tagliani, an adopted Australian after having married his Australian wife Bronte, and Marshall, were 11th and 14th respectively after the morning's two-hour practice session.

These placings meant that they were on track third and seventh respectively for the qualifying shootout which involved four warm-up laps and two green laps, of which the fastest time counted on the time sheets.

This put them both at a disadvantage with the track improving through the session after having been effected badly by an early stockcar practice session.

Team Australia approaches tomorrow's race with some confidence after having finished on the podium in the last round at Monterrey in Mexico two weeks ago -- the outfit's second only start in Champ Car competition.

Jimmy Vasser took pole for tomorrow race in his 200th event start while AJ Allmendinger gave Champ Car its first All-American front-row since 1998 when he posted the second-fastest time ahead of Justin Wilson.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--..

11th - ALEX TAGLIANI -- TIME: 21.722 seconds

"We had way too much under steer," said Tagliani.

"We had a couple of key problems with the car which we discovered after practice, but by then it was too late.

"Because we were on the track so early in the qualifying the track was much different and was difficult because of the stockcar guys who had run earlier.

"We will certainly work on things overnight and I think we can have a car and a team that is capable of putting us on the podium again.

"225 laps is a long way around here and as long as we learn from our mistakes, have good pit stops and good mileage I think we have a chance.

"It is a pity we did not pick up from where we left off at the test here last month where I did a 21-dead (21 second lap), but at least we know the car is much better than the time we could do in qualifying."

15th - MARCUS MARSHALL - TIME: 22.283 seconds

"The track was much more slippery than the morning practice session," said Marshall after qualifying.

"I thought we could have done a much better time than that.

"That is the first time that I have been involved in single car qualifying of any kind and there is a lot to get done in just six laps.

"I am quite comfortable with the car at the moment. We made changes through the two-hour practice this morning and I got held up a little on my two quick laps.

"Two days of testing (last month) and today's practice is not a hell of a lot of time, but I have absorbed what I can and learned a lot.

"There is certainly a lot of turning left on the ovals and I think I will be a little dizzy by the end of tomorrow's race."

DERRICK WALKER -- TEAM CO-OWNER

"Obviously we have work to do," said Walker.

"Alex's car had an imbalance with too much under steer.

"The track had definitely slowed for qualifying with few drivers actually going faster than they did this morning.

"Marcus certainly found the track slower and more slippery in qualifying. He is on a steep learning curve and almost everything he is doing is new to him.

"We will gather things up overnight and see if we can have a couple of quicker race cars tomorrow for the race."

CRAIG GORE -- TEAM CO-OWNER

"I can't tell you how frustrating it is not to be on the ground at Milwaukee this weekend," said Gore, who was a last minute withdrawal because of some business commitments.

"Obviously the boys struggled a little bit in qualifying, but everyone at Team Australia seems confident that they can turn it around.

"Alex certainly has the ability to push on from where he is and Marcus seems to be learning a lot and keeping if off the walls, which is not an easy thing to do on an oval for the first time."

-taus-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Jimmy Vasser , Alex Tagliani , Marcus Marshall