TOP FIVE FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA IN MEXICO Team Australia enjoyed another solid result in the Champ Car World Series with Alex Tagliani finishing inside the top five at the Grand Prix of Monterrey in Mexico today. Tagliani's fifth place marks the...
TOP FIVE FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA IN MEXICO
Team Australia enjoyed another solid result in the Champ Car World Series with Alex Tagliani finishing inside the top five at the Grand Prix of Monterrey in Mexico today.
Tagliani's fifth place marks the fifth consecutive year the Canadian has earned a top five finish in Monterrey and cemented his position inside the top five in the championship standings.
Earlier in the day Tagliani was second fastest in the morning warm up, but didn't have the speed aboard the #15 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola to match the front runners in the race.
During the latter stages of the race Tagliani was closing in on Paul Tracy for fourth place but was unable to mount a serious challenge when he was forced to conserve his fuel. A lack of radio contact between himself and the Team Australia crew added to his woes.
Tagliani's Team Australia team-mate, Australian Will Power, was the top-finishing rookie of the race, finishing 11th and extending his lead in Rookie of the Year standings.
Power battled hard all race in the sweltering conditions and was almost involved in a dramatic incident late in the event.
He slid off the track with fellow rookie Charles Zwolsman and had just made his way back onto the race surface when he almost collected race leader Sebastien Bourdais.
Bourdais went on to take his third straight victory in the 2006 championship. Justin Wilson crossed the line second ahead of A.J. Allmendinger.
Bourdais leads the championship on 102 points ahead of Wilson (77) and Mario Dominguez (69). Tagliani is fifth on 56 points with Power (40) 9th.
The next round of the Champ Car World Series will be held in Milwaukee on June 3-4.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--..
Alex Tagliani #15 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola
"It was not the best weekend I've had behind the wheel, we obviously struggled a bit, so to come away with a top five result is satisfying," said Tagliani
"When the car is not perfect I think coming out with a top five finish is pretty good.
"The guys did a fantastic job in the pit stops. On the last stint they realized we didn't have enough fuel and at the end of the race we also lost radio contact, I couldn't hear the team and they couldn't hear me.
"After the second pit stop we didn't know how much fuel we got in, so just to be on the safe side they told me to hit a fuel number, save fuel and stop fighting for fourth with Paul (Tracy).
"As a result I had to save fuel and just bring the car home safe today."
Will Power #5 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola
"Today was a tough race, it was very hot out there and I got fatigued towards the end," said Power.
"This was definitely another race where I learned something new, and I'm happy I finished as the highest rookie. My goal is to keep finishing and get points. The track gripped up a lot today during the race, but overall the car was good. The Team Australia crew did a great job to continually improve the car throughout the weekend."
Derrick Walker -- Co-owner Team Australia
"Today was not our best day; I think we clearly have as much of the race cars that we needed to have raced up front today," said Walker.
"Everyone in the team did everything they could to maximize what we had and achieved a good fifth place.
"Now we go back and take a look at where we go from here to extract some more race pace out of the cars."
Craig Gore -- Co-owner Team Australia
"It was great to see Tags in the top five again and I am sure we are not that far away from another podium finish for the Aussie Vineyards backed Team Australia outfit," said Gore.
"Monterrey certainly offers plenty of challenges and while it was nice to come away from here with our first podium finish last year it's comforting to know that we are heading away this year with a fifth spot and two cars and two drivers in one piece.
"There is a long way to go in this championship and so far everyone has produced their best effort in flying the flag for Australia in this championship.