RSPORTS GAVE IT THEIR ALL BUT SETTLE FOR FIFTH AND EIGHTH AT ROAD AMERICA ELKHART LAKE, WI (August 12, 2007) - RSPORTS finish fifth and eighth in today's Champ Car Generac Grand Prix at Road America keeping hopes alive of a solid finish this ...
RSPORTS GAVE IT THEIR ALL BUT SETTLE FOR FIFTH AND EIGHTH AT ROAD AMERICA
ELKHART LAKE, WI (August 12, 2007) - RSPORTS finish fifth and eighth in today's Champ Car Generac Grand Prix at Road America keeping hopes alive of a solid finish this season in the Champ Car championship standings.
After the morning warm-up session, things were looking pretty good for Alex Tagliani, who recorded the top time of the session. Starting in the sixth spot on the Road America grid this afternoon, Tagliani moved into the top five by Lap 7, which is where he eventually finished. It was just one of those races; there was only one yellow flag at the beginning of the race which lasted from Laps 1 to 3, the rest was flat out racing. Those kinds of races take a toll on any team's strategy, and that was the case for Tagliani and the #8 RSPORTS crew today. He drove a great race but was only able to bring the #8 RSPORTS Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone home in the fifth spot.
This is Tagliani's fourth top-five finish this season, after ten races, and it also marks his eighth top ten result. The French-Canadian earned 21 points, giving him a total of 161 and he holds on to the ninth spot in the championship standings, only nine points out of returning to the top five.
Wilson had his struggles all weekend, but was hoping for a clean slate at the start of the race. Wilson started tenth, but jumped back and forth between positions 12, 10, 11, 10, 11, 10, 12 respectively before he came in for his first pit stop of the day on Lap 8. It was a normal stop for new tires and fuel, but Wilson had radioed to his team that he was concerned there might be something broken on the front right corner of the #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone. His concern ended up to be a reality, as the front backing plate, which attaches the front brake duct to the suspension, broke. His crew was able to repair the piece and get him back on his way. From that point on, it was just a matter of finishing out the race and getting some points.
The Englishman grabbed 15 championship points this afternoon and closed the gap between third and fourth, as he now trails by only seven points. With a total of 190 points, Wilson remains fourth in the championship standings.
The team will have two weeks to pack up and prepare for their return to the European market for Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2007 Champ Car World Series. The first stop will be in Zolder, Belgium, August 24-26, immediately followed by a trip north to Assen, Holland, August 31 - September 2.
Alex Tagliani #8 RSPORTS Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone
"It was a good team effort today. I had good pit stops and we did all that we could out there. I think that we had the car that probably could have been in the top three, but some guys went out of sequence early and with the way the race went, it gave them the advantage. That is just part of the game; you never can tell when it will be a good thing to do that, or a bad thing. We realize now, with a top five again, that the last two races were definitely painful to digest because they just took us out of the top three in the championship. So we just have to keep working hard and I am pretty sure that we can get back in the top five of the championship standings before the end of the season, which is our goal.
Justin Wilson #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone
"I really would have liked to have done better for CDW and all our partners. We had a piece of body work come loose in the race, which did not help us at all. The #9 CDW crew pushed through it and we were able to continue on. My crew gave me some good stops and we had a reasonable race strategy, but that was not enough to have a better result this afternoon. We will take what points we were able to collect and go on to Europe."
Paul Gentilozzi, RSPORTS team co-owner
"We had a pretty good race car today. Alex drove the #8 RSPORTS car very well and had good, consistent laps. We think we may have missed a little bit of an opportunity in the strategy, but it could have gone either way for us had we gotten a late yellow. We are proud of the #8 RSPORTS guys, they had four great pit stops today. And we are proud of Alex, he drove an excellent race. Overall, a good weekend for us and we will carry that in to Europe."
Dan Pettit, RSPORTS team co-owner
"It was a rough weekend for the #9 CDW team. We did everything we could to move Justin up, but we just didn't get the yellows that we would have needed. However, I think that we got the most out of the #9 CDW car that we could today and we were able to move up a few positions this afternoon. A few of the guys ahead of us in the championship standings lost some points to us, so that is pretty good because we were able to close the gap a little more. So I do not think that we are not in bad shape as we prepare for the remainder of the season."