CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Rocketsports Racing Saturday report

TORONTO, Ont. (July, 10, 2004) -- Alex Tagliani, driver of the No.8 Johnson Controls Lola and Memo Gidley in the No. 17 LeasePlan Lola, today completed the final qualifying session for the Molson Indy Toronto. Tagliani will sit in ninth position...

TORONTO, Ont. (July, 10, 2004) -- Alex Tagliani, driver of the No.8 Johnson Controls Lola and Memo Gidley in the No. 17 LeasePlan Lola, today completed the final qualifying session for the Molson Indy Toronto. Tagliani will sit in ninth position on the starting grid for the Molson Indy Toronto, while Gidley will occupy the 18th spot on the grid in Round Six of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford on Sunday in position on the starting grid.

Tagliani Qualifying Results
Start position on grid: 9th
First Session -- Position: Time: 59.754 (105.734 mph, 170.161 km/h)
Second Session -- Position: Time: 59.469 (106.240 mph, 170.977 km/h)

"We're looking for the right balance in the car. We've got the right people on it. We won't gamble with the strategy, but I need to move ahead on the grid and shoot for good results tomorrow," said Tagliani.

Gidley Qualifying Results:
Start Position on Grid: 18th Time: 1:01.497 (102.737 mph, 165.338 km/h)

"It feels really good to get back in the car," said Gidley. "It's hard to jump in a car after a long break at the start of the weekend, let alone mid-weekend. It's been a long time since I've been in a Champ Car. This morning I just reeled off some laps and got comfortable. I think qualifying went well. The car responded well with each change we made and it still needs some tweaking, but considering the amount of time we had to develop it, it was good in the end. The Bridgestone tires were consistent and forgiving. They gave me a lot of confidence right away.

"To expect great results with 40 laps after 2 ½ years out of the car is unrealistic, but my plan is to focus on the race and turning laps. I think about the situation and have to be realistic, but I'll be pushing it out there. Physically and mentally I know I can do the laps. I surprised myself with how quickly I was comfortable back in the car," Gidley added.

"I've never driven this engine configuration before, with the added turbo boost and lower revs' but this morning I was impressed at the power of the Ford-Cosworth engine. They make the cars fast consistent and fun to drive. It took a few laps to go full throttle in the back straight, and a few more in the corners, but I got there. You can't appreciate the power of these cars until you drive them -- they're the fastest cars in the world. Jumping into one (of these cars) after such a long time may be one of the greatest challenges of my career. It's an extreme test! I've had other last minute, intense situations, but none quite like this. I feel good, great with this team and am as ready as I could be for tomorrow," determined Gidley.

-rsr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Memo Gidley , Alex Tagliani