TAGLIANI SETTLING IN AT CIRCUIT ZOLDER; ROUNDS OUT THE TOP TEN ON THE FIRST DAY ZOLDER, Belgium (August 24, 2007) - Alex Tagliani and his ...
TAGLIANI SETTLING IN AT CIRCUIT ZOLDER; ROUNDS OUT THE TOP TEN ON THE FIRST DAY
ZOLDER, Belgium (August 24, 2007) - Alex Tagliani and his #8 Rocketsports crew took the time to get acquainted with a new track today and his efforts were enough to round out the top ten in Zolder, Belgium as the team prepares for Sunday's inaugural Belgian Champ Car Grand Prix.
Tagliani was excited to check out the venue for himself behind the wheel of the #8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone. His first opportunity came this morning, during a practice session. He headed out first thing when the session got underway to log some laps and familiarize himself with the 2.492-mile circuit in Zolder, Belgium.
The Rocketsports team was hoping to verify their assumptions on the track and their baseline setup during this morning's practice session and the first round of qualifying. Generally, they were able to do that, but it was a little difficult to find a good rhythm, especially in qualifying because of multiple red flags that came out in the middle of Tagliani's runs. Cars went off at inconvenient times for the team. That rhythm is important on new tracks because the driver does not know the circuit well and staying consistent lap-after-lap is crucial.
When the #9 CDW RuSPORT car was involved in a first-lap incident, it was tough because the two teams couldn't compare data and setup ideas after the first session. But their engineers were at least able to come down to the Rocketsports timing stand to hear driver comments and review the data, which goes to demonstrate just how important it is to be a two-car effort in this series.
Tagliani recorded a time of 1:16.155 (117.802 mph/189.583 kmh) on his 15th out of 23 laps run this morning to finish eighth overall. He was able to improve his time during the afternoon session, posting a 1:14.960 (119.680 mph/192.606 kmh), which put him tenth on the provisional Zolder grid.
Overall it was a good start to an exciting new race weekend in Europe. The fans were out and about learning all about the Champ Car World Series. It should be a great weekend here in Belgium, as the excitement will continue tomorrow.
Alex Tagliani #8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone
"I really like the Zolder track. It is a lot of fun to drive, but I think that we missed the set-up a little bit on the #8 Rocketsports car. I feel that the car could have been quicker then where we ended up this afternoon, but we probably just ran the car a little bit too conservative and we had to fight a lot of understeer. We should be able to get it back tomorrow; after all, this is the first day that we are running at this circuit, so there is definitely a learning curve. The weather looks good for tomorrow, so all should go well. I think we have a shot of getting the #8 car in the top three, top five tomorrow."