CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: RSPORTS race report

RSPORTS DUO FINISHES IN TOP EIGHT FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE TIME IN CANADA Wilson scored second Champ Car podium in 2007 TORONTO, Ontario Canada -- After finishing both RSPORTS cars in the top eight for the fourth time this season ...


Wilson scored second Champ Car podium in 2007

TORONTO, Ontario Canada -- After finishing both RSPORTS cars in the top eight for the fourth time this season in Mont-Tremblant, the team does it again, making it a back-to-back top eight finishes for drivers Justin Wilson and Alex Tagliani today in Toronto.

Just as the checkered flag dropped to end the morning warm up session, the dark rain clouds moved in. A thunderstorm produced quite a bit of rain, throwing off all the hard work that the team has done in the dry weather leading up to this today's race on the streets of Toronto. So, everyone knew that it was going to be an interesting afternoon.

And that is exactly what it was. Making their fourth Champ Car standing start, the first on a street course venue, RSPORTS drivers Wilson and Tagliani started second and sixth, respectively.

Wilson dropped back to P3 after a hard charging Oriol Servia took the lead from the third spot on the grid. Wilson would stay there for the next 17 laps, challenging for the opportunity to pass Bourdais for the second spot. That chance came on his 19th orbit around the 1.755-mile track, but the Englishman spun after making contact with Bourdais in Turn 5. He was able to continue, but sat 12th overall. Knowing he had a fast car this weekend, he started to charge back to the front of the field. On Lap 26, Wilson moved back into the top ten by getting around Robert Doornbos. He then made his first pit stop of the day on Lap 34, which was a successful pit for tires and fuel. He continued to work his way through the 17-car field this afternoon, making his final pit stop of the day on Lap 41 out of the ninth spot. On Lap 62, Wilson would meet up again with Bourdais, this time getting around him to claim the fourth spot. On Lap 71 of 73 laps, the third place runner Ryan Dalziel went into the tire wall in Turn 8 while trying to protect a podium finish as Wilson made his move. That resulted in the #9 CDW/RSPORTS car moving into the top three. During the 1 hour and 45-minuted timed race, the time just ran out on Wilson, who was charging hard to claim the second spot on the podium. It was a nail biter to the finish line, as Wilson did all he could but would remain third overall to claim his second podium finish in 2007.

Wilson's third place result in today's Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto marked the fifth time out of seven attempts of finishing in the top five this season. He earned 25 points this afternoon, giving him a total of 138 markers as he sits fourth in the Champ Car championship standings.

After starting sixth on the grid, Tagliani was hoping to put on a good show for his Canadian fans behind the wheel of the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program car. However, luck just wasn't on his side again in his native land. On the first lap, he was hit by Simon Pagenaud, which resulted in a flat right rear tire for Tagliani. By taking advantage of the seven caution periods in today's race, the French-Canadian was on a strategy that could have put him on the podium. Pushing hard to make up positions lost because he had to pit for new tires, he was holding his ground and staying patient. The Toronto fans had something to cheer about, as a Canadian driver took the lead on Lap 38. But pushing it a little too far, in terms of strategy, Tagliani would have to pay on course. The rain began to fall on Lap 36 and the track continued to get slippery, Tagliani loses the rear of his car in Turn 3 and stoped on course. As a result, Oriol Servia, who tried to avoid him as he came around the turn, pushed Tagliani into the tire barrier. That was really the end of the day for Tagliani, once he had gone two laps down. For the rest of the day the goal was to hang in there and just walk away with some points. That is exactly what he did, and was able to salvage an eighth place result today on home soil.

Tagliani continues to be the only driver to have finished every event this season in the top ten. He takes home 15 championship points and remains fifth in the standings with a total of 127.

With both drivers sitting top five in the Champ Car championship standings, together they sit second in the Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown Standings. Wilson and Tagliani, who with their third and eighth positions moved up from third to second place with an average finish of 6. The Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown is a team competition pitting teams against each other over the three Canadian events on the 2007 Champ Car schedule. The standings for the Triple Crown are based on the combined average finish for each team over the three races with the winning team receiving a traditional Canadian Inuit Carving along with a variety of Canadian themed rewards.

During a summer tour that has five Champ Car races in six weeks, the RSPORTS team will have a little time to relax before Round 8 in Edmonton, July 20-22, immediately followed by Round 9 in San Jose, July 27-29.

Quotes Justin Wilson #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"It was an eventful race. I was racing Sebastien earlier on and when I tried to pass him going into five, he got a really bad run through four so I knew I had a chance. But, he went in deep and turned in as if I wasn't there in the #9 CDW car. So, I was disappointed that I got spun around. But, you know, I was fired up to come back, too. I enjoyed passing him later in the race and getting a position off of him. I caught Ryan Dalziel at the end going into turn eight, and he braked much later than he had been. However, I had already committed to the inside. I got alongside him as he took me into the concrete. I just started sliding towards the wall as he then attempted to drive back around the outside. We kind of met almost up against the wall. I think his front right hit my left rear, which, you know, in normal terms you would say that was my corner. But, I feel sorry for Ryan. Everyone at Pacific Coast has done a fantastic job. They were running well. From my point of view, I thought he could have maybe slowed up, let me slide out wide and passed me back into the next corner. All in all, it was great to get the #9 CDW car back on the podium, for CDW and all of our partners and the RSPORTS team."

Alex Tagliani #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"It was a tough race for us because we got a flat tire which was caused by contact from (Simon) Pagenaud in Turn 3 on the first lap. >From that point on, we were behind in the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program car, but we were doing good. With the yellows and the times we came into the pits for refueling, we had a pretty good shot at finishing on the podium. But we just missed the opportunity to come into the pits for wet tires when it was raining in the back straight away. Because of that, I spun out because it really was slippery out there. Then Oriol (Servia) ran into me when I was stopped on the track after I spun and he pushed me into the tires. I was stuck there and it took forever to get us out, which is when we lost the two laps. After that, we just wanted to finish the race and score some points. It is a shame; I was hoping to have a better result here in Toronto for Tide, Wal-Mart, the Victory Lap Charity Program and all of their partners, also for the great Canadian fans. So, we will try again in Edmonton and hopefully have some better luck."

Dan Pettit, RSPORTS team co-owner

"It was a great race for Justin, he worked very, very hard. He had a little tangle in the beginning when he was trying to get to second place, which spun him out and put him towards the back of the pack. Then slowly he just worked his way through the field in the #9 CDW/RSPORTS car. He didn't catch any breaks; he did it all on his own by making great passes. He challenged hard to the end, and that resulted in podium finish today. It just goes to show what a great racer Justin is when he has a good car to run with, and he proved that once again today."

Paul Gentilozzi, RSPORTS team co-owner

"Justin had a fantastic race today to come back and finish third. It seems like bad luck follows Alex when we are in Canada. First getting his tire cut by Pagenaud, then sliding in the tires; we just did not do anything right this afternoon. We will take eighth, it could have been worse. We are still fifth in the championship standings, we lost some ground, but we will keep after it and hopefully have a better Canadian finish in Edmonton."

-credit: rsports

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Oriol Servia , Paul Gentilozzi , Robert Doornbos , Simon Pagenaud