HUGE CHALLENGE AHEAD FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA AT ROAD AMERICA For many reasons Team Australia is about to embark on one of the biggest events in its history this weekend at the Road America circuit for Round 12 of the Champ Car World Series in Elkhart...
HUGE CHALLENGE AHEAD FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA AT ROAD AMERICA
For many reasons Team Australia is about to embark on one of the biggest events in its history this weekend at the Road America circuit for Round 12 of the Champ Car World Series in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Team Australia Champ Car drivers Will Power and Alex Tagliani are both looking to cement their positions in the top 10 in the championship standings heading into Team Australia's home event, the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast. There could be no better lead up for the Aussie Vineyards squad's home event than Road America, which returns to the Champ Car World Series schedule this year and is regarded as one of the best circuits in the world.
The last time a Champ Car race was held at the Road America circuit was in 2004, where Tagliani took his first Champ Car victory while driving for Rocketsports Racing. Tagliani has had to wait two years to return to Road America as a defending race winner and is excited about this weekend's race at the fast and undulating 4.048-mile (6.515-kilometre) road course.
Young Australian Power is also aware of the significance of this weekend's race. Currently lying sixth in the championship and in the lead of the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year standings, Power will be giving it his all for a strong result at Road America, knowing that a solid weekend in Elkhart Lake could give him the opportunity to clinch the rookie title in his native state of Queensland at the Lexmark Indy 300.
While Power has never driven the Road America circuit before, the Toowoomba-born driver is confident that the fast and flowing layout will be to his liking, having driven on similar circuits in Europe for the past three years.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --
Will Power -- #5 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola
"Going into this weekend we need to be aggressive and try to get a podium before the end of the season and Elkhart Lake would be a good race to do it at leading into my home race in Australia," said Power.
"I've got a reasonable points lead in the rookie fight, but overall we also have to beware of how close the points are from fourth to 12th. We didn't get to test at Road America, which is a little bit unfortunate, as all the other rookies did, so we will have to use the first day as learning day, but this circuit is more of a European style track, which really suits my style and our car, so I believe we will have a strong weekend."
Alex Tagliani -- #15 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola
"The last time I was at Elkhart Lake I won the race so it will definitely be pretty exciting for me to get back on the track where I won my first race," said Tagliani.
"My first year in Champ Car I qualified third and almost won the race, but with eight laps left to go we had mechanical failure. In 2001 and 2002 I was on the front row and in 2004 I won my first race.
"It's a fun event and the track is so long and so big that the fans are spread out everywhere from sitting on the hill to watching from their motor home. I can't wait to get back to racing and hopefully bring the Team Australia boys home a podium."
Derrick Walker -- Team Australia Co-Owner
"This is a very special road course and it requires a different kind of racecar than what we have previously been running most of the year," said Walker.
"It will be interesting to see how we can come up with the right combination to do well there. I think it's good that Champ Car is returning, we can't let these traditional type road courses disappear from our calendar. Hopefully the fans will respond and comeback to watch a great race.
"For all our drivers it will be a track that fits their driving styles. We unfortunately were unable to test there with this package so that is a bit of a disadvantage, but nevertheless our engineers have put a lot of thought into what package we will start with, so am I'm pretty optimistic that we will be one of the front runners."
Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner
"It is hard to believe that there is just one more race before we head to our home race at the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast," said Gore.
"It has been a solid season from Team Australia, but with plenty of ups and downs. I guess the one major goal we have at the moment is to ensure Will wins the 'Rookie of the Year' title and that we get him into the top four or five of the championship standings.
"Alex also has the chance to jump two or three places in the standings over the last three rounds."
-credit: team australia