Bathurst: WPS Racing Thursday report

BATHURST TOP 15 FOR WPS RACING The WPS Racing V8 Supercar team confirmed they're ready to deliver during Bathurst's Super Cheap Auto 1000 by registering a 15th placing during today's opening practice session. That result in the ...

BATHURST TOP 15 FOR WPS RACING

The WPS Racing V8 Supercar team confirmed they're ready to deliver during Bathurst's Super Cheap Auto 1000 by registering a 15th placing during today's opening practice session.

That result in the #48 car driven by David Besnard and Craig Baird was fully supported by an experimental two hour session turned in by Alex Tagliani and Marcus Marshall in the #8 Team Australia entry.

Nineteen laps down of a completed 25 lap stint by Baird and Besnard had the duo well entrenched inside the top 10 on the leader-board.

Rather than throw everything into the final six laps the WPS Racing brains trust erred on the side of caution and came away more than satisfied with the outcome.

"The motor feels quite strong and there's just a good genuine feel within the team and with the car," said Besnard.

"There's no doubt on the second stint out there the car was a lot better than the first but we got held up in traffic so we couldn't convert as good a lap as we hoped.

"But in the final period it all came together well and we seem to be making up time everywhere around the track.

"There's no doubt we're a better proposition in 2005 and I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

There's no doubt the Besnard/Baird pairing has a solid foundation and that was reiterated by both drivers who turned in comparable times around the Mt Panorama circuit.

"Right from the outset the car boasted a good overall package," said Baird.

"The entire team is really gelling well together and that's going to hold us well for the entire weekend.

"Even during the lead up we've had positive meetings and there's just an overall positive vibe towards race day.

"I'm in no doubt we're creating that ideal formula required to be competitive at such a huge event such as Bathurst.

Enthusiasm shadowed the greatly anticipated Mt Panorama debut of regular Champ Car driver Alex Tagliani.

The Canadian campaigner was far from disappointed with his initial Bathurst jaunt and is looking forward to continuing a massive learning curve in his International motor racing career.

"The car's going okay and we've just been tweaking a few things trying to come up with the perfect package," said Tagliani.

"I feel very lucky to race here at Bathurst but I need to learn more.

"I'm enjoying my time out there and the more chances I have to drive the more my confidence is growing.

"We're also learning a lot from what the guys in car 48 are doing out there and I know we'll get it right for tomorrow's practice sessions.

"Marcus and I have the same feel for the car so it's just a matter of working towards the most suitable package, but we're getting there."

Backing up Tagliani's summation of today's proceedings Marshall also remains upbeat and is counting down the hours to race day.

"It was pretty wild out there early on but we managed to settle into a rhythm and are slowly working towards something that will be good for both of us," added Marshall.

"Alex and I are enjoying ourselves out there and I'm just trying to get back in to the swing of driving touring cars again around Mt Panorama.

"The goal today was to make sure we had a package that would make things easier for tomorrow

"We definitely improved by the end of the session but we just need more time out on the track."

It was Ford leading the way today as Sandown winners Craig Lowndes and Yvan Muller took up where they left off in Melbourne to record the quickest lap time followed by Holden's Todd Kelly and Mark Skaife. Current Series leader Marcos Ambrose and Warren Luff were third quickest.

-wps-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Alex Tagliani , David Besnard , Marcos Ambrose , Yvan Muller , Marcus Marshall , Mark Skaife , Todd Kelly , Warren Luff