CHAMPCAR/CART: Monterrey: Rocketsports Racing Saturday report

MONTERREY, Mexico (May 22, 2004) Alex Tagliani, driver of the No.8 Johnson Controls Lola, and Nelson Philippe in the No. 17 LeasePlan Lola, today secured their starting positions for the Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey in Mexico. The ...

MONTERREY, Mexico (May 22, 2004) Alex Tagliani, driver of the No.8 Johnson Controls Lola, and Nelson Philippe in the No. 17 LeasePlan Lola, today secured their starting positions for the Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey in Mexico. The Rocketsports duo battled it out with the full field of 18 drivers in a 35-minute qualifying session. The greater challenge for both drivers came from their cars, as the Rocketsports Lolas were forced to the rear of the starting grid.

Driver of the No. 8 Johnson Controls Lola, Alex Tagliani fought steering issues and qualified 15th with a time of 1:16.103 (99.528 mph or 160.175 Km/h). "We'd hoped for better qualifying results today, but it looks like we'll have to depend on our strategy to move ahead from our starting position in the race," said Tagliani, exhausted from the struggle.

"We went to the backup car after damaging the tub of the primary car going over the rumble strip in turn one during morning practice. In the backup car, I had a lot of difficulty steering and just couldn't push the car," explained Tagliani. "This starting position (15th) will make the race a bigger challenge, but we'll pull through. Our priority tonight is to improve the steering and be ready for the race."

Teammate, Nelson Philippe, in the No. 17 LeasePlan Lola, landed in 17th spot on the starting grid with a time of 1:17.191 (98.125 mph or 157.917 Km/h). Philippe faced his own trials during the session, but remained optimistic for tomorrow's race.

"We managed to make some changes and improvements to the speed and handling of the car. Unfortunately just at the end of the session we ran low on fuel, which may have set us back. Catching up from further down the grid will be more of a challenge, but the car is responding better so we'll gain some strength there and plan on a good finish," said Philippe, with his focus on the fourth running of the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix, set for Sunday afternoon.

-rsr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Nelson Philippe