CHAMPCAR/CART: Montreal: Team Australia Friday report

TAG TAGS THE WALL AS MARSHALL GRABS BEST QUALIFYING EFFORT Alex Tagliani will have another shot at grabbing his second home-town pole position in Montreal tomorrow after today's assault ended early when he "tagged" the wall in the opening...


Alex Tagliani will have another shot at grabbing his second home-town pole position in Montreal tomorrow after today's assault ended early when he "tagged" the wall in the opening minutes of qualifying.

The Aussie Vineyards star set the fastest time in the practice session which preceding the qualifying session but still managed to set the 10th fastest time despite hitting the wall coming onto the start-finish straight.

Tagliani was still bringing his Bridgestone tires up to temperature when he slid wide coming on to the straight and tapped the famous "welcome to Quebec" sign -- a section of the track that is famous for "collecting" cars, both in the Champ Car World Series and Formula One.

The #15 Team Australia Lola suffered minor suspension damage in the incident and team were unable to repair the car in time for the local hero to return to the track.

Aussie rookie team-mate Marcus Marshall pulled out his best qualifying effort of the season to set the 13th best time today.

The Aussie's qualifying attack was unfortunately cut short when the session was red flagged after a dramatic crash by fellow rookie, Canadian, Andrew Ranger.

Marshall was preparing for his second run on fresh tires when the session finished early.

Team Australia will return to the track tomorrow morning for another practice session before final qualifying takes place at 2pm (local time)

"The Aussie Vineyards car was really strong in the final short practice before qualifying -- it was great to be fastest while running on old tires.

"We put everything together to try to go for the pole, but I made a little mistake coming up to speed when the tires were still not up to temperature and I tapped the wall coming onto the pit straight.

"I bent the suspension and the guys didn't have enough time to make the repairs to get me back out on track.

"I feel pretty sad, although it is probably my first mistake of the year. It is probably worse for me because it happened here at my home track.

"However, the good thing is the car is very very fast here and we have another chance to go for the pole tomorrow."

"I really love the track here because it is more like a traditional road course - although the walls are still very close.

"It is very different when you are in the car compared to watching on television. The straights here are very long and you really don't get that impression from watching the telecast.

"We have had a lot of street tracks lately which are pretty tough to do in your first year. Here at Montreal I was able to learn the track far easier and get up to speed quicker.

"It was great to be 13th today and we actually expected to go a little quicker but the session ended early with the red flag. The Aussie Vineyards guys had made some improvements after my first run on new tires and I was really looking forward to getting out there for a second shot on another new set of Bridgestones."

"The great thing about Alex is he is always giving 100% - it works most of the time but sometimes it bites us. Today was just one of those things.

"The damage was relatively minor, but when we repaired the car in Denver in the race, the damaged parts were easily changed, but changing the bottom wishbone takes a little longer.

"As it turned out with the other incident at the finish which ended the session early it was a mute point anyway.

"The car is decent and Alex goes very well here so the combination of the two works well for us here.

"Everywhere we go we learn a lot and we now have ten races under our belt with the Lola. The combination of the team and Alex and the car all working together means we know a lot more about our package than we did at Long Beach."

"The car is obviously very strong and no one is more disappointed than Alex and but I am sure we will be able to bounce back tomorrow.

"The fact that we know the car is fast and we have another chance to challenge for the pole tomorrow means we are in a good position so far this weekend.

"Marcus also pulled out a great effort today. This is his best qualifying effort of the year and obviously he has listened well to all of Alex's tips about this racetrack.

"With all the local attention for Alex this weekend, this is really like another home race for Team Australia and a great warm-up as we begin the run into the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast."

-team aus-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Marcus Marshall , Andrew Ranger