CHAMPCAR/CART: St. Pete: Rocketsports Racing report

Friday Practice Notes: Tagliani had a "monster lead" on the rest of the pack in the first practice session of the day and placed first with a best lap time of 1:04.7 seconds and a top speed of 100.4 mph/161.5 Km/h. In the second practice of the...

Friday Practice Notes:
Tagliani had a "monster lead" on the rest of the pack in the first practice session of the day and placed first with a best lap time of 1:04.7 seconds and a top speed of 100.4 mph/161.5 Km/h.

In the second practice of the day Tagliani finished 13th with a best lap time of 104.0 seconds and top speed of 101.5 mph or 163.4 Km/h.

Friday Qualifying Notes:
In the first qualifying session of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and the Champ Car World Series 2003 season Tagliani placed ninth with a best lap time of 102.8 seconds and a top speed of 103.4 mph.

"We got a red at lap 13, but I am still happy with the results," said Tagliani. "We are managing with the parts and equipment we have and we're getting back to the basics to sort ourselves out. In light of that, we are doing well," concluded Tagliani.

The Rocketsports crew maintained their positive, unified determination in the paddock following the sessions. "We're making progress," commented Crew Chief Tom Howatt, "and we're working well with what we have."

Capability and determinaton of Tagliani and the Rocketsports team evident on days like today.

Day One of Qualifying - Alex Tagliani in the #33 Johnson Controls Lola placed ninth with a lap time of 1:02.822. (103.492 mph or 166.554 Km/h)

Saturday Practice Notes:
Day Two Morning Practice - Once again, Tagliani and the Rocketsports crew proved themselves with outstanding results in morning practice posting the second best lap of 101:173 seconds, just 0.188 seconds behind the leader. Tagliani pushed the #33 Johnson Controls Lola to a top speed of 106.2 mph or 171.0 Km/h.

Saturday Qaulifying Notes:
Day Two Qualifying - Later in the day, under extremely windy conditions and imminent rain Tagliani in the #33 Johnson Controls Lola got off to a strong start. Forty minutes into the session under an already red flag Tagliani lost control and spun. He made contact with the wall in Turn 9 and lost his rear wing. Unfortunately, the red flag conditions caused Tagliani to lose his fastest timed lap and place 12th in the individual session, with a fast lap of 1:02.523 (103.987 mph or 167.351 Km/h.

Combined Report/Starting Line Up - Rocketsports will take position #13 in row seven of the starting line up tomorrow for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Quotes- Following the day's highs and lows Tagliani commented, "The real test of character for this team is to remain confident and positive about what we are doing. "We have proven ourselves in practice and it's frustrating to get a red flag in our best lap, but we'll keep working hard to get good results."

Race Notes:
Race results with an excited crew and team owner surrounding him Tagliani started today's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in 13th position. On lap four of his first race with Rocketsports in the #33 Johnson Controls Lola, Tagliani went head on into the tire wall in Turn 10 ending his race for the day.

Quotes Team owner Paul Gentilozzi spoke openly about today's race saying, "Every sport has a human element. When an athlete makes an error they feel like the world is focused on them, but that changes very quickly and we all have to go on."

Gentilozzi gave Tagliani ten minutes to get over his disappointment and recommended he try to avoid it in the future. "Along with glory comes responsibility. We have to be accountable and learn from our mistakes," said Gentilozzi. "It's just the beginning. I have confidence in Alex and accept that these things happen...that's racing."

Tagliani took Gentilozzi's words to heart and made no excuses. "It's a great disappointment. I wish I could go back and change what happened. I just have to suck it up and go on," said Tagliani, who had proven himself with competitive results on track earlier in the weekend.

-rsr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Paul Gentilozzi