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Tagliani fumes after yellow ruling ends victory hopes


If not for bad luck, Alex Tagliani could have walked away with another win for the underdogs of the IndyCar Series paddock, just one week on from Justin Wilson's upset for the Dale Coyne Racing team.

The Canadian, who started a season-best fifth, led twice for 21 laps around Toronto's Exhibition Place but, instead of joining Wilson and Coyne as popular victors, came away with heartbreak in his home country. Possibly on his way to a first win for the Conquest Racing outfit, 'Tag' saw everything melt away because of an untimely caution period, leaving them to settle for ninth at the chequered flag.

After scoring a best start of the season after qualifying fifth, the team made an impressive start to the IndyCar Series' first race on the streets of Toronto, as Tagliani gained three positions at the green to slot into second place behind eventual winner Dario Franchitti. The Canadian had the crowd behind him as he remained in striking distance of the lead, and ahead of reigning champion Scott Dixon, and they cheered even more when he took the lead as Franchitti pitted on lap 25.

Tagliani remained in the lead, fighting with both Paul Tracy and Dixon, until his own first pit-stop on lap 34. With others having pitted during an early caution period, he then briefly found himself seventh but, once the stops had cycled through, he was once again in the lead - ahead of Franchitti, who had suffered a botched wheel change. Everything was looking good for the Conquest squad as Tagliani seemed untouchable, but then came the heartbreak when a yellow flag flew for an incident in turn three on lap 59.

Because of the rule that requires officials to close the pits during the first laps of a full course caution, Tagliani couldn't immediately pit to keep his advantage. The team's performance was now in vain, since the yellow advantaged cars that had pitted earlier - including Franchitti, who had just pitted for a second time - and Tagliani wound up eleventh at the time he rejoined.

"It's very unfortunate to dominate like this in a race and lose it by a 'pits are closed' rule - it's a little bit disappointing, but what can I say," he sighed, "We were kind of the victim of our own performance. The car was great on tyres and fuel, I was driving a really good race, and I didn't have the need to pit. Guys were pitting behind us and, when the yellow came out because of an incident, I couldn't pit to keep the advantage I had."

It was the third top ten finish for the Conquest team on a road or street course and, combined with Tagliani's previous success at Edmonton, could be a sign of good things to come. The Canadian, too, will have a point to prove on 26 July.

"That rule really destroyed our whole race, and it's a shame to see it slip away between our fingers," he fumed, "But, in the end, we still came here and we showed that we could be faster than anybody else.”

Team owner Eric Bachelart shared his driver's viewpoint, and praised Tagliani for his effort.

β€œIt's hard to accept that we can lose a race when we have been dominating the whole time, and because of a yellow," Bachelart grimaced, "I really think that the officials should have a hard look at their rules. I think that, too many times, we have seen the leader lose the race because of a yellow, so the current rules do not always reward the best car and driver on the track and it becomes a bit of a gambling exercise.

"This being said, I very much appreciate the team effort and Alex's brilliant driving. It's obviously a very disappointing result, but we proved we have the potential to win a race and, hopefully, it will happen soon.”



Related Pictures

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Indy Racing League.  10-12 July 2009.  Honda Indy of Toronto. Tornoto, Ontario, Canada.  Alex Tagliani and Paul Tracy.
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Degree Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, raced to a sixth-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
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Marco Andretti on pit lane after qualifications for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon on pit lane after qualifications for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
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Simon Pagenaud on pit lane prior to qualifications for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon on pit lane following practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, takes the chequered flag Sunday, June 14, 2015 to win the Verizon IndyCar Series race through the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Newgarden`s teammate, Luca Filippi, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6, finished second. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
The green flag flies to start the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz in his pit stand following practice for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Will Power peels out of his pit stand for qualifications for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves on pit lane following Practice 1 for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon climbs in for a shakedown lap in the wet. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Rain washes out second practice at Toronto. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Energizer Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, races to victory Saturday, June 6, 2015, taking the chequered flag at the Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600 race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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