CHANCE TO SHINE AT SANDOWN FOR WPS RACING Like many competitors in the Australian V8 Supercar Series the 2005 endurance campaign, that begins this weekend during the Betta Electrical Sandown 500, provides the WPS Racing team the opportunity to...
CHANCE TO SHINE AT SANDOWN FOR WPS RACING
Like many competitors in the Australian V8 Supercar Series the 2005 endurance campaign, that begins this weekend during the Betta Electrical Sandown 500, provides the WPS Racing team the opportunity to brush aside past disappointments and refocus their energy towards more positive outcomes.
The chance to shine couldn't have come at a better time for regular drivers David Besnard and Craig Baird who'll team up in the WPS Racing #48 Falcon.
Optimism and excitement reigns in the team's approach to the Melbourne assignment with each driver boasting a genuine sense of anticipation.
The lead up to this particular race has a distinct edge to it following a successful test day last Friday.
"There's no problem with our driver combination. Bairdo and I are confident we can put it together and get the results we are so keen to produce out on the track," said Besnard.
"The test day was our fourth for the year and probably the best we've had so far as each of us enjoying our stints behind the wheel.
"It's always a great feeling when we're approaching these endurance races because you can really gain something from the season by clocking up some good results at Sandown and Bathurst.
In total the WPS Racing #48 Falcon covered just over 60 laps during last week's test session.
Baird believes the teaming of the two regular WPS Racing drivers for the endurance campaign is bound to pay the biggest dividends for the team.
"We're both good mates and our driving styles complement each other for these longer races. There's no reason why we can't be putting on a performance that should have us towards the pointy end," said Baird.
"But we're not getting ahead of ourselves and will set conservative goals and just see how things pan out.
"Probably the best statistic we have going for us from this season is we've both had to fight hard from difficult qualifying positions and been able to consistently secure better results in racing.
"These are longer races where surviving the distance is more important than qualifying so we'll keep our nose clean and hope things work in our favour."
The progressive nature of the WPS Racing operation will see Canadian Alex Tagliani make his greatly anticipated V8 Supercar debut, joining regular Team Australia champ car team mate, Australian driver Marcus Marshall in the Wright Patton Shakespeare supported #8 entry.
"This has been a huge learning curve but one that I've really enjoyed," said Tagliani.
"The more time I get out on the track the more confident I am behind the wheel.
"These cars are very different to champ car and there's been a lot of things that I've had to take in over the past month.
"But this is a great challenge and I can't wait to race in my first V8 Supercar event at Sandown."
Tagliani enjoyed the bulk of time behind the wheel during testing, completing 65 laps.
The day long session also provided Marshall the opportunity to steer his way around the 3.1 kilometre Willowbank circuit over 35 laps.
Australia's first full-time driver in the Champ Car World Series has racing experience at Sandown, which will prove invaluable during their campaign.
"I've driven at Sandown twice in V8 Supercars and a couple of times in Formula Ford, so I know what to expect come race day," said Marshall.
"We were running fifth last year before encountering problems trying to remove a wheel nut during a pit stop which relegated us back to 11th overall.
"If Alex and I can manage some really good exits on the front and back straight and attack hard on the sections in between I'm sure we'll go alright.
"We'll be setting some realistic goals and striving for those all weekend."
Test day synopsis:
WPS Racing #48
David Besnard -- 31 laps
Craig Baird -- 32 laps
Total -- 63 laps
WPS Racing #8
Alex Tagliani -- 65 laps
Marcus Marshall -- 35 laps
Total -- 100 laps