Conquest Racing Shows Potential in Detroit

01.09.2008: Conquest Racing Shows Potential in Detroit

- Tagliani registers sixth fastest lap of race but is sidelined by mechanical woes; Camara taken out by contact -

It was a busy weekend for Conquest Racing in Detroit after making a driver change late Friday afternoon due to an injury to Enrique Bernoldi and calling up veteran race car driver Alex Tagliani to fill in. The team was hoping to count on Taglianiís experience in an open-wheel car to help them out this weekend at the Detroit Indy Grand Prix Presented by Firestone.

Even if in the end the final results may not have been there on paper, with Tagliani taking 21st due to mechanical problems and Jaime Camara 25th due to contact, the team did show great potential, with Tagliani registering the sixth fastest lap of the race, and made strides in their progress, looking at a potential top five finish.

With passing proving to be difficult on the 14-turn street circuit, Conquest choose to pit early and go off strategy to try and make up some ground. The team took advantage of an early yellow on Lap 2 to pit both Tagliani and Camara for fuel only with Tagliani returning for more fuel 12 laps later. The strategy put him in excellent position to make his way to the front when the front-runners would pit.

While Tagliani was chasing down the cars ahead of him after his stop, Camara was having his own battle with Dan Wheldon. Unfortunately for Camara he was hit from behind by Dan Wheldon when he braked going into Turn 8. The hit sent him into the tire wall and the damage caused to the car forced him to put an end to his race.

Meanwhile, Tagliani was slowly moving up the field and was about to make his way into the top five when the cars ahead of him started pitting. Unluckily around lap 32, Tagliani started having issues with his gearbox and had to pit. After some repairs were made, the Quebec native returned to the track and registered a lap of 1:13.8305, which was the third quickest lap of the race at the time and sixth fastest overall when the checkered flag fell. However, Tagliani was forced to retire out of his first IndyCar Series race due to his mechanical woes after completing 54 laps.

Next up for the Conquest Racing team will be the PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway next weekend, September 6 Ė 7. The race will be broadcast live on ABC at 3:30 p.m. eastern time.

Conquest Quoteboard

21st Ė Alex Tagliani #36 Sangari Dallara/Honda/Firestone

"First of all my job here this weekend was to show what the team is worth and how good their car is. Despite jumping in the car Saturday morning and missing all day Friday, we had a top five car today. Our strategy was good. We were running ahead of Dixon at one point in the race and thatís where we needed to be. On our first pit stops we didnít put new tires, we just put fuel and on old tires and a full load of fuel the car was super consistent.

We then put a new set of tires and the car did a 73.8 right away. Having lost some laps, I didnít want to fight with anybody but the car was super quick. If we wouldnít have had our problems, we would have been straight into the top five where we belong. From there we would have been really, really strong. Iím very happy, very excited with the way the team reacted this weekend.

They definitely showed that they are a top class team and that they deserve to be up front, thatís where the car is and thatís where the group of people that work here are. Having done only half of a race we did the sixth fastest lap. Itís unfortunate to have mechanical problems but I think we were asking for the impossible coming here on such short notice like this but we proved that wrong. After evaluating the whole thing, Conquest Racing deserves to be in the top five in the IndyCar Series right now."

25th - Jaime Camara #34 Sangari Dallara/Honda/Firestone

"(About his incident with Wheldon) I donít know, I have to see the replay. I have nothing to say about it. I just braked in Turn 8 and there was a big hit behind me and I ended up in the tire wall. Itís too bad, I was doing well and looking for a good result this weekend."

Eric Bachelart, Conquest Team Owner

"Iíd like to thank Alex for coming in in the middle of the weekend to help us out. He has done an outstanding job. He was giving good feedback to the engineers and it helped us to give him a good car for the race. I have been really impressed with his knowledge and professionalism as well as his speed.

Our engineers have done a very good job of improving the car in such a short time and itís unfortunate that we had to stop with gearbox problems as I believe we had a top five car today. Jaime benefitted from the advice of Alex and kept on making good improvement. Unfortunately he had that contact with Dan Wheldon, who was on a different strategy. We will look at a replay to see exactly what happened."  


- Karina Redmond -


01.09.2008 / MaP

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