Tagliani Qualifies Impressive Seventh Aboard Rexall Edmonton Indy car at St. Petersburg

04.04.2009: Conquest Racing’s Alex Tagliani was one of the stories of the day today with his performance aboard the Rexall Edmonton Indy car during qualifying for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The

Conquest Racing’s Alex Tagliani was one of the stories of the day today with his performance aboard the Rexall Edmonton Indy car during qualifying for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The Series’ lone Canadian, who found out on Monday that he would be racing in St. Petersburg, placed seventh ahead of Series Champion Scott Dixon, with only three practice sessions under his belt since his last race in October of 2008. Tagliani also just missed out on making the Firestone Fast Six by 0.0251 seconds.

Tagliani was part of the first group to head out on track during Round 1 of the IndyCar Series’ three rounds of qualifying. With 11 drivers vying for a spot in the top-six, the competition was fierce. During his first stint Tagliani placed himself sixth in his group, but there was more to come by the passionate driver. Tag then went out on Firestone’s Red alternate tires and put in a blistering lap of 1 minute 02.3726 seconds, which placed him second behind Penske Racing’s Will Power.

Tag’s performance in Round 1 meant he was going to move on to Round 2 which featured the top six drivers of both groups who once again were gunning for a place in the top six. Tagliani used the same strategy as during Round 1, by keeping his Firestone Reds for his second stint of the 15-minute session. Unfortunately, the driver of the #34 Rexall Edmonton Indy car was unable to better his previous time and registered a lap of 1 minute 02.6952 seconds. His lap was only 0.0251 seconds short of sending him into the Firestone Fast Six, which would have given him a shot at the pole position.

Tagliani’s seventh place start matches his performance in Australia where he also started seventh before going on to give the team a fourth place finish. Tomorrow’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg goes green at 2:45 p.m. eastern time and will be broadcast live on Versus starting at 2:00 p.m. with the pre-race show. Canadian viewers can tune in to TSN2 at 2:00 p.m. as well. Fans can also follow the race live on Indycar.com.

Conquest Quote Board

#34 Alex Tagliani Rexall Edmonton Indy Dallara/Honda/Firestone

“I’m very happy with today. It felt more like our real first day on track, since yesterday was more of a testing session, just getting back into the groove of things. We almost made it into the Firestone Fast Six, we missed it by just over a couple of thousandths of a second.

However, we made it in front of the Ganassi car of Dixon and three AGR cars, I think that’s pretty good. I think the team deserves a lot of credit. We came here at the last minute and we know that there’s more in the car that we need to learn, but we’re just limited with time right now. I’m very pleased that we put in a good performance like this with the Rexall Edmonton Indy car in our first showing of the year and I hope that we have more to come.”

Eric Bachelart, Team Owner

“Alex put in a very good performance in qualifying today. We used yesterday mostly to get up to speed since we didn’t get a chance to test before coming here. Then we didn’t have a very good practice this morning but we regrouped between sessions and Alex, the engineers and the whole team did a great job and we were able to show what we can do.

It’s very satisfying to see that without any testing we are able to fight with the top teams in the Series. We were hoping to make it into the Firestone Fast Six and we were so close to making it. We’ll take seventh for now but we’ll keep on pushing and hopefully we can have a great race tomorrow.”

- Karina Redmond -

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04.04.2009 / MaP

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