TAGLIANI ON THE PACE FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA IN MEXICO Team Australia's Alex Tagliani pulled out a starring performance to nearly steal a front row starting position for the Aussie Vineyards-sponsored team in final qualifying for round two of the ...
TAGLIANI ON THE PACE FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA IN MEXICO
Team Australia's Alex Tagliani pulled out a starring performance to nearly steal a front row starting position for the Aussie Vineyards-sponsored team in final qualifying for round two of the Champ Car World Series in Monterrey, Mexico today.
After recording a time of 1 minute, 16.217 seconds yesterday, Tagliani shaved nearly two seconds off that time to stop the clocks at 1:14.342 -- putting him fourth on the grid and only .138 of a second from a front row start.
Tagliani was only one spot behind his best ever Monterrey qualifying position of 3rd which he achieved in 2002 and 03. The Canadian is the only Champ Car driver to have scored three top five finishes at the Fundidora Park circuit.
Aussie Champ Car rookie Marcus Marshall however, did not enjoy the same fortunes of his experienced team-mate.
Marshall's fastest lap was disallowed after he was penalised for bringing out the red flag after spinning and stalling his #5 Lola. His late session attempts to move up the grid were hindered by traffic, leaving him in 19th place on the grid.
The Team Australia squad will undergo final preparations overnight before tomorrow morning's warm-up at 10:45 am (1:45am, Monday, May 23 Australian EST).
Tomorrow's 76 lap race will greet the green flag at 2:45 pm local time: (5.45am, Monday, May 23 Australian EST)
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.
ALEX TAGLIANI -- CAR #15
"I am very excited about the result today for Team Australia. The team is only two races old and everything is new, but showing speed like that is a great boost for everybody and if we can keep that going we will be able to sneak onto the podium a few times.
"By the time we get to Australia we should be really strong and hopefully can challenge for the win -- that would be perfect for this team.
"The car is working well everywhere we go and I am also really getting on well with everybody on the team.
"The track here in Monterrey is one that I love and have done well at in the past. It is like a road course with the grip of a street course -- it is a great challenge.
"We are looking strong for a good race tomorrow and I think we can challenge for the podium if we don't make any mistakes."
MARCUS MARSHALL -- CAR #5
"Things certainly didn't go our way and I only have myself to blame because the red flag didn't help us at all -- especially since I caused it.
"We thought the changes we made between practice and qualifying were the right way to go but in fact, the car was a bit evil.
"You have to think positively about tomorrow and get things sorted out for the race.
"We will look at some data overnight and having Alex as my team-mate is a massive help. His experience has helped me out a lot and also the Aussie Vineyards team because we are new to running the Lola.
"Getting to the finish like I did at Long Beach is a priority and a top ten finish is always my goal -- we will see how the day goes."
DERRICK WALKER -- TEAM OWNER
"The impressive part for me is the gap between 1st and 4th -- we have closed up the gap and usually the second day qualifying is the tough one to do that in. We have continued to make gains and all the guys did an excellent job.
"Time-wise it was great from Alex -- just what we needed.
"This morning we did some runs on full tanks and old tires so we have a bit of information as to where we will be in race conditions. I think we are ideally positioned to do well tomorrow. We have some tweaks overnight to try but I would say we are very well prepared."
CRAIG GORE -- TEAM OWNER
"Marcus was pretty unlucky today. He made a mistake coming through the chicane, spun and brought out the red flag.
"After that he didn't have a enough time to get a clear lap. He wouldn't be at the back of the pack if it wasn't for that. He is a bit dejected, but he will bounce back.
"Tags did a brilliant job with 4th. We are only a 10th of a second off the front row which is fantastic -- a front row start would have been a great achievement but we are still out there flying the flag!"