Alex Tagliani Impressive in Sonoma qualifying with a fourth-place on the grid
Sonoma, California (August 21, 2010) – On a racetrack unknown to the FAZZT Race Team and especially to Alex Tagliani, the Canadian driver showed great skills all weekend long on the Infineon Raceway road course to post the fourth best time in Saturday’s qualifying. Tagliani will start round 13 of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series from the outside or row two, next to Dario Franchitti. The dedicated work done by the rookie team over the course of the last few months finally paid off even though Tagliani had to wait five months, since the opening round in Brazil, before making it back to the Firestone Final Six qualifying. In Brazil, Tagliani qualified second on a track no one else in the IRL knew. This weekend in California, a track that has been on the IndyCar schedule for the last five years, the rookie team was in the top four in all sessions.
“It was a great showing for our team obviously,” Tagliani said. “Since we made major technical changes on the car at Mid-Ohio, it has been all positive and everything we have tried on this track has worked. I’m very proud of what the team has been able to accomplish and to make major changes in our approach in the middle of the season was a bold move that seems to be paying off. Rob Edwards, Allen McDonald, and the entire FAZZT team have been making great calls, which have really helped the team. I’m very proud to finish the road course qualifying segment on a very good note and hopefully tomorrow we can continue what we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks.”
Australian driver Will Power earned a series-record eighth pole posting the fastest time of the weekend at 1 minute 16.5282 seconds at an average speed of 174.351 km/h. He edged his Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves (1:16.5652) by only three hundredths of a second. Dario Franchitti, last year’s winner from the pole, will share row two with Tagliani. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver stopped the clock at 1:16.9437, while fourth-place Tagliani posted his best lap around the 3.707-kilometer road course in 1 minute 17.2068 seconds for an average speed of 172.817 km/h. Ryan Briscoe, the third member of the Penske Team, qualified fifth ahead of Franchitti’s teammate Scott Dixon.
“This is the last road course race of the year and we finished it the same way we started it in Brazil, making it into the Firestone Fast 6,” said Rob Edwards, COO/General Manager. “A lot has happened in between but it’s a great way to end qualifying on the road course part of the season. What a great way to celebrate the addition of TorcUp as a sponsor for the remainder of the season. Tag’s ability to learn a new track was a huge help to the team to continue the development we started in Mid-Ohio. We look forward to the race tomorrow and we’ll try to finish on the podium. I think what I’m most proud of the last two weekends at Mid-Ohio and here is that it really shows the strength of our team. It was great to see our car and Tag on the track at Sonoma for the first time and fight with best drivers and teams in the series. It is very rewarding for a first year team.”
Round 13 of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar schedule is a 75 laps, 277.973 kilometers race that will be broadcast live Sunday August 22 on TSN2 and VERSUS starting at 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time. Live Timing and Scoring as well as video coverage of all practice sessions, qualifying, and the race are available at www.indycar.com.
Previous Winners in Sonoma
No one has ever repeated as a winner of an IndyCar race at Sonoma since the series first began to compete at the road course located north of the Golden Gate Bridge in 2005. Five winners in five races. Ryan Briscoe won the first-ever pole, but it was Brazilian Tony Kanaan who won the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. In 2006, Marco Andretti was victorious ahead of Dario Franchitti, and the following year Scott Dixon was the winner after qualifying fifth. Helio Castroneves finished second that year, but won from the pole in 2008. Franchitti followed suit last season, also with a win from pole position. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver, who had won the pole in 2007, is the only repeat pole winner at Infineon Raceway, but no one as yet repeated as a race winner.
August 22, 2010 Schedule
– Sunday Warm-Up: 1:15 – 1:45 p.m. ET
– Sunday Race: 75 laps for 277.973-km with the green flag at 5:45 p.m. ET
Image is courtesy of IndyCar Series / Jim Haines
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