CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Rocketsports Racing race report

PORTLAND, Ore. (June 20, 2004) -- Rocketsports drivers Alex Tagliani and Nelson Philippe today completed the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway. Tagliani started and finished seventh, while teammate Nelson ...

PORTLAND, Ore. (June 20, 2004) -- Rocketsports drivers Alex Tagliani and Nelson Philippe today completed the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway. Tagliani started and finished seventh, while teammate Nelson Philippe climbed three positions from his starting spot and finished 15th in Round Four of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford.

Tagliani qualified seventh with a time of 59.900 (118.337 mph or 190.445 km/h) and maintains his top-ten position in the 2004 Champ Car World Series championship battle, just 42 points behind the series leader. Today's top-ten finish marks the 42nd of Tagliani's Champ Car career with 81 starts.

At the end of the 94-lap race on the 1.969 mile PIR circuit, Tagliani commented on the drive of the No.8 Johnson Controls Lola. "The balance of the car was perfect - the best it's been all weekend, but I had no grip and it felt like I was driving in the rain, it was so slick. This didn't make it very physically demanding, since I was sliding all around," remarked Tagliani.

"We need to find the right combination of dampers to use with the new tires. We need to look at shocks that will give me more consistency with the grip, since I have more grip on the track when I start out with fresh tires and lots of fuel, but lose it (the grip) after a number of laps. The inconsistency with the push in the car was also confusing and needs attention," concluded Tagliani, who currently sits in seventh position in the series standings with 63 points.

Nelson Philippe in the No.17 LeasePlan Lola started the fourth race of his Champ Car career in 18th position on the grid, after qualifying with a time of 1:01.531 (115.200 mph or 185.397 km/h). Philippe made all the right moves, despite being held back by an uncooperative car, and remained committed to resolving future issues and move ahead in the series ranks.

"There was little improvement in the car and our results all weekend," sighed Philippe. "The car was loose from front to rear, and it was difficult to maintain any real speed. It's frustrating not to be able to find a solution, but we need to correct the set up of the car and race for better results for the balance of the season," said Philippe, who sits in 16th position in the series standings with 32 points.

Tagliani and Philippe are back on the track in Round Five of the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford - the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland, set for Saturday July 3, 2004.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Nelson Philippe