CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America: RSPORTS Saturday notes

RSPORTS CONTINUE THEIR TOP TEN EFFORT AT ROAD AMERICA AS THEY TAKE PART IN FINAL QUALIFYING ELKHART LAKE, WI (August 11, 2007) - The RSPORTS duo of Alex Tagliani and Justin Wilson were able to hold positions to round out the top ten on the Road...


ELKHART LAKE, WI (August 11, 2007) - The RSPORTS duo of Alex Tagliani and Justin Wilson were able to hold positions to round out the top ten on the Road America grid after final qualifying took place this afternoon in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for Round 10 of the 2007 Champ Car World Series.

On-track Champ Car activities at Road America started back up this morning with a one-hour practice session. After six laps, Tagliani grabbed the top spot with a time of 1:43.783 (140.416 mph). He completed a total of 16 laps around the 4.048-mile permanent road course, and finished the session in the second spot. Graham Rahal posted the fastest time of the session, but Tagliani was the quickest car out there this morning running on old tires. Teammate Wilson made his way into the top five after completing nine laps with a time of 1:44.305. He was able to improve that time on his 14th of 16 laps run this morning, sitting fifth overall with the best time of 1:43.882 (140.282 mph).

This afternoon saw the final round of qualifying for tomorrow's Champ Car Generac Grand Prix at Road America. For the first run of the afternoon, both RSPORTS drivers opted to utilize the Bridgestone Red Potenza tires, which is the softer tire compound option. They both ran a total of five laps before ending their first runs, which saw Wilson sitting P5 with a time of 1:44.050 and Tagliani P9 after recording a time of 1:44.042.

Tagliani had a good idea of what he wanted with the car, but he just didn't have enough time to get the job done. After making changes to the #8 RSPORTS Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone in between runs, the French-Canadian went back out for his second and final run of the day and decided to switch back to the Bridgestone Potenza black tires. He posted his fastest time of the day on his ninth and final lap this afternoon, which was a 1:43.374 (140.972 mph). That was enough to move him up the grid from ninth to sixth, which is where he will start in tomorrow's race.

Tagliani is one of the pilots to watch in tomorrow's race since reuniting with the crew that helped him earn his first Champ Car World Series win at Road America in 2004. That year he started 13th on the grid and took the win. So starting sixth leaves a window of opportunity for him to have the race weekend result he has been striving for all season: finish with a podium or a win. This weekend marks the 127th start for the French-Canadian in a Champ Car.

Wilson continued to run on the red tires, although a new set, for his second run this afternoon. While hoping the struggles during the first run would go away as the car settled into the softer tire compound, he also ran out of time to record a better lap. He was one of eight drivers that were unable to improve their time from yesterday. His time from yesterday, a 1:43.525 (140.766 mph), was enough to keep him in the top ten on the Road America grid.

Wilson will attempt to make his 50th Champ Car start tomorrow from the tenth spot. He continues his streak this season of starting in the top ten or better, as he has yet to qualify outside of the top ten after ten attempts.

Alex Tagliani #8 RSPORTS Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"I think that we made an improvement today, we just got stuck a little bit on the end. We had to make a pretty good balance change on the car when we ran on red tires to black tires. We ran the Bridgestone Potenza red tires for our first run, and then switched back to the blacks for the second stint. But it was a little bit too tight at the end, as we got the change done, but we were only able to run four laps instead of five. I think that we had a car that was capable of being P2 today, but we just did not have enough time to get the lap we needed to move us higher up on the grid. But it was a very good effort from the #8 RSPORTS crew, as we are going to start sixth tomorrow. So that is not too bad since we know that we have a good car. Anything and everything is possible during the race tomorrow, we just have to be smart and try to be there at the end. If we can do that, then I am pretty sure we will have a good race."

Justin Wilson #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"The #9 CDW car just wasn't suited for the red tires today. We ran both stints on the softer Bridgestone Potenza Red tires, but they just made the car more difficult to drive, therefore we never had the chance to improve our time today. It is a shame, as we thought saving the reds would help us be quicker today, but that was not the case for us here today. So we will start from the tenth spot and focus on working our way to the front during the race itself. I just hope that we can put together a good plan and have a clean race with the #9 CDW car tomorrow."

-credit: rsports

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Graham Rahal
Teams HART