An Eventful Day for Rocketsports as Tagliani Posts Quickest Time at Road America Test ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 1, 2004) - The Rocketsports Racing Champ Car team took time out of their Memorial Day celebrations to make the trip out to Elkhart...
An Eventful Day for Rocketsports as Tagliani Posts Quickest Time at Road America Test
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 1, 2004) - The Rocketsports Racing Champ Car team took time out of their Memorial Day celebrations to make the trip out to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin and prepare for a day of testing on the 4.048-mile course at Road America. Drivers, Alex Tagliani and Nelson Philippe took to the permanent road course early Tuesday morning and finished the eventful day with mixed reviews. Tagliani was happy to post the quickest time of the test session, while teammate Philippe, had an early disappointing finish to his day.
With 15 Champ Cars testing on the drenched course, Tagliani, in the No. 8 Johnson Controls Lola, posted the fastest lap of the day with a time of 1:44.54. "I'm pleased with the performance of the Rocketsports team, who gave me a great car for the test, and demonstrated how strong we can be," boasted Tagliani, who has a trio of top-three starts and two consecutive podium finishes at the lush Wisconsin circuit. "Brian Ma, our engineer, has worked especially hard to get the right configuration for Road America.
"We've been working on our set-up and strategy track-by-track. These good test results give us one more racetrack we can bank on doing well at - where we can score more points and improve our position for the balance of the championship.
"This is a boost for me and the team as we go into the busiest part of the season," added Tagliani. "We're confident of the set-up we have for the upcoming Milwaukee, Portland and Cleveland races, and my goal is to start a podium streak for Rocketsports."
Tagliani, who is currently seventh in the championship standings with 38 points, rode consistently and trouble-free through the test day, until his final lap, when he spun exiting turn 13, onto the slippery grass, causing damage to the front wing and suspension. "This was the only negative part of the day, because it caused some damage and made it a longer day for the crew. Otherwise, it was a fast and fine day," said Tagliani.
Rocketsports engineer, Brian Ma, was satisfied with the results of the No. 8 Johnson Controls Lola in the test session and explained his work. "We simply started with a baseline and made improvements. We made decent progress, and even improved on the Rocketsports 2003 qualifying time," remarked Ma. "We took many steps in the right direction, which will set us in a good position for the race here in August."
Nelson Philippe, in the No. 17 LeasePlan Lola, made the quickest exit of the day after he caught the slippery grass with a loose car and cold tires on his out-lap this morning. Philippe slid across the soggy green, met with the retaining wall, and cracked the tub of the car, putting an early end to his day.
"Stuff happens" said a disappointed Philippe, who had high expectations for the test. "Experiences like this make me realize the potential for incidents on the track. Better that it happened during a test, rather than a race, but I am still sore about losing a test day and the tub," concluded Philippe. The Rocketsports rookie, sitting in 12th position in the series standings heads to the Milwaukee Mile on June 5th for his third Champ Car start, looking for another top-ten finish.
Philippe and Tagliani will return to Elkhart Lake for Round Eight of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford - the Grand Prix of Road America on August 8, 2004.
Up Next: Round Three of the Champ Car World Series, the Time Warner Cable Roadrunner 250 at the Milwaukee Mile, is set for Saturday June 5, 2004 at 9:00 p.m. (EST) and will be aired on Spike TV on Sunday June 6, 2004 at 4:00 p.m. (EST).