CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto/Edmonton: Team Australia preview

CANADIAN DOUBLE HEADER NEXT UP FOR AUSSIE VINEYARDS SQUAD The Aussie Vineyards Team Australia Champ Car squad face a back-to-back Canadian double-header starting this weekend in Toronto followed by a 3,500km (2,174mile) cross-country trek to ...


The Aussie Vineyards Team Australia Champ Car squad face a back-to-back Canadian double-header starting this weekend in Toronto followed by a 3,500km (2,174mile) cross-country trek to Edmonton.

The two Canadian races represent the first opportunity for the team to showcase the Aussie Vineyards brand before a 32 million-strong Canadian market.

Behind Long Beach, Toronto is the second oldest street race on the Champ Car World Series calendar. Edmonton however, is one of the newest on the 2005 schedule.

With Canadian star Alex Tagliani hugely popular in his native land, the "adopted" Aussie (he is married to an Australian) and his team have received enormous media exposure throughout the year north of the US border.

Tagliani was unlucky not to steal a win at the last round of the championship at Cleveland where the Aussie Vineyards team "rolled the dice" on strategy. One extra lap under a yellow flag safety car period would have permitted Tagliani to skip his final "splash and dash" fuel stop that dropped him from the race lead to fourth.

Aussie rookie Marcus Marshall is looking to the Canadian races to break through for his first top ten result of 2005.

Marshall ran well inside the top ten during the Cleveland race only to suffer a flat tire when he was the innocent victim of contact with Cristiano da Matta.

The Queenslander has finished 14th and 12th in his past two Champ Car starts.


Australia will again play host to the Champ Car World Series on the streets of Surfers Paradise for the Lexmark Indy 300 from October 20-23. This year will be the first year in the event's history that a full-time Australian team will compete for glory on home soil.

Team Australia is a new Champ Car entry created for 2005 by veteran team owner Derrick Walker and Australian businessmen Craig Gore and John Fish.

The team will contest the championship with major sponsorship from Aussie Vineyards, a new Queensland company established by Gore and Fish to export Australian wine into the US market.

The pair is looking to use the program as a tool for other Australian businesses also wishing to market their products and services into the US.

ALEX TAGLIANI #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia

"I am really looking forward to the weekend, because Team Australia has really been on a roll over the past couple of races and it will be great for me to get a strong result here in Canada."

"The track at Toronto can be tricky especially with some of the corners having a concrete surface."

"But it is a very rewarding type of track. The last three turns are really my favorite. They are very fast and flowing and if you get the first part slightly wrong, you can end up off line for the next two turns. But if you get it right, you can finish the lap really strongly."

"Street circuits are always fun to drive, but this is one of my favorites. It's a great layout, fantastic event and the support from the fans is incredible."

MARCUS MARSHALL #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia

"I have heard a lot of great things about the Toronto race, this is one of the races that I am really looking forward to."

"Street races are always a real challenge and a totally different discipline from the past few races when we have been on road courses."

"From what I have seen on video, the track looks pretty tight, bumpy and slippery. But Derrick's guys have got some pretty good results here in the past so hopefully we can build on that momentum."

"We have been unlucky with the Aussie Vineyards team in qualifying with red flags at the end of sessions in the past couple of events. In the races I have been knocking on the door of the top ten with a 14th and 12th."

"Hopefully with a bit of luck we can move forward again."


"This is a track where you need a good handling car in qualifying because overtaking is very difficult in race conditions."

"There are only a couple of passing opportunities and you only have 60 seconds of "push to pass:" time so you have to use that sparingly."

"The circuit layout here really has a bit of everything, but there is no room for error -- it is very unforgiving."

"Track position is also very important in Toronto, so you have to be very careful with the strategy to ensure you don't get caught in the pack."

"This is a great event for the series -- the entire city really gets behind it."


"With a bit of luck on our side we could have ended up with a win at Cleveland but overall we are delighted with the progress of the team."

"Our aim at the start of the year was to become more and more competitive as the season progressed to possibly be in a position to challenge for a win by the time we get home for the Gold Coast race."

"So far the performance of the Aussie Vineyards team has really exceeded our expectations."

"This weekend will be another important step as we showcase the Aussie Vineyards brand in front of the Canadian market for the first time."

Practice 1: July 8, 10:15 am (ET -- local) / July 9, 12.15am (AEST)
Practice 2: July 8, 2:00 pm (ET -- local) / July 9, 4.00am (AEST)
Qualifying 1: July 8, 2:25 pm (ET -- local) / July 9, 4.25am (AEST)
Practice 3: July 9, 10:30 am (ET -- local) / July 10, 12.30am (AEST)
Practice 4: July 9, 1:45 pm (ET -- local) / July 10, 3.45am (AEST)
Qualifying 2: July 9, 2:10 pm (ET -- local) / July 10, 4.10am (AEST)
Warm-Up: July 10, 9:00 am (ET -- local) / July 11, 11.00pm (AEST)
Race: July 10, 1:00 pm (ET -- local) / July 11, 3.00am (AEST)

AUSTRALIAN TELEVISION: The Cleveland round of the Champ Car World Series will be telecast on Network Ten at 1.40am (AEST) on July 11.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Marcus Marshall , Cristiano da Matta