CHAMPCAR/CART: Monterrey: Team Australia Friday report

TEAM AUSTRALIA FOURTH FASTEST IN MEXICO Team Australia continued to make strides towards the front of the Champ Car World Series grid with Alex Tagliani placing the ...


Team Australia continued to make strides towards the front of the Champ Car World Series grid with Alex Tagliani placing the #15 Aussie Vineyards-sponsored car fourth fastest in Friday qualifying in Monterrey, Mexico today.

Tagliani actually sat third fastest with only seconds remaining in today's opening qualifying session before being bumped out of the top three by Justin Wilson.

With three top five finishes at the Fundidora Park circuit in the past three years, Tagliani's form was also impressive in the morning practice session where he was third fastest.

The Canadian recorded a fastest time of 1 minute 16.217 seconds in qualifying.

Aussie Champ Car rookie Marcus Marshall was 17th fastest in both the practice and qualifying session -- his last session disrupted by traffic in the closing stages after the team improved the car on his final run.

Reigning Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais earned the provisional pole and guaranteed a front row start on Sunday with a time of 1:14.967.

Team Australia is a new Champ Car entry created for 2005 by veteran team owner Derrick Walker and Australian businessmen Craig Gore and John Fish.

The team will contest the championship with major sponsorship from Aussie Vineyards, a new Queensland company established by Gore and Fish to export Australian wine into the US market.


"I am pretty happy to be 4th but there was probably a little more speed in the car because I made a little mistake in the second sector of the track which cost me a bit of time. "We are pretty close to the mark and actually a lot better than we expected. I am pretty sure there is some more speed to come as well. "We have a couple of changes to try tomorrow morning and of course the track will get quicker and quicker. "The team has done a great job so far this weekend -- the five week break from Long Beach to now has been very beneficial for us. "We have been able to put in a lot of miles in testing and I am certain we can move forward again tomorrow."


"I really like the circuit here, it flows really well and I am really enjoying it. "We made a change at the end of the session for my last set of tires and the car improved quite a bit. "I kept holding back to get a good run at a clean lap, but we ran out of time at the finish. The guy in front wasn't going so well and held me up a few times. "The car has got better and better throughout the day so I am very happy with that. The fact we are moving forward with the car is a very good sign. "I can't wait to get back out there tomorrow. I am very comfortable in the car and confident we will have a strong day."


"We certainly have been worse off than today, but you always want to be a little further up the grid than where we are. Newman-Haas are always very strong here and we probably expected them to be 1-2. "We nearly had P3 until right at the end but we know what we need to do with the car and we are learning all the time. "Compared to where we were in Long Beach, we have obviously moved in the right direction. "All the teams will be thinking hard overnight to try and find more speed and the challenge for us will be to also find more time to stay where we are on the grid or hopefully move up."


"That was an excellent result for Team Australia from Alex today -- 4th fastest is the best result we have had so far so it is very pleasing to be moving forward. Marcus keeps improving as well so we are very pleased. "There is an excellent crowd here today and the locals are starting to learn what Team Australia is all about. It is great to see them here in large numbers."


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Sébastien Bourdais , Marcus Marshall