Alex Tagliani's disappointing Champ Car season finale didn't get any better on race day, starting with a stall and ending two laps down on winner Sebastien Bourdais after Rocketsports failed to get to the bottom of problems with the #8 car.

Despite trying to make as many changes as possible to the car on Saturday night and Sunday morning, Tagliani still had problems as he lined up on the grid. Knowing that the car was not going to be competitive enough to put up a fight from 14th, the strategy was simply to do the best he could, but things got worse even as the field moved away from the lights.

For the first time since Champ Car moved to standing starts mid-season, Tagliani stalled the Rocketsports machine, delaying him further before being bump-started by the safety team. Able to catch up to the tail of the field after Champ Car officials threw a yellow to clear the similarly stranded cars of Oriol Servia and Nelson Philippe, Tagliani took advantage of the open pits to fill up on fuel under the caution, good work by the crew moving him ahead of Philippe before Tagliani hauled in Alex Figge at the restart.

It proved to be a false dawn, however, and, despite working his way up to eleventh by lap six, that was as good as it got for the French-Canadian as he spent the rest of the race just trying to hold on as excessive tyre wear led to increasing understeer. Lapped by the leaders at mid-distance, Tagliani continued to drop back, eventually taking the final chequered flag of the year in 13th spot, two laps down.

"It is definitely not the way that we wanted to end the season," he sighed, "For our last race together, it is definitively something that makes me sad, but we have been struggling with the car all weekend.

"We have destroyed every set of tyres that we put on the car during the race because we never got the set-up [right]. The boys worked very hard in the pits, as everyone has been trying real hard, [but] this is the type of track where everything needs to be perfect. You need to have a car that allows you to go quick in medium-to-high speed corners, and we had such a bad, bad, bad push in the car that it was devastating out there when we were trying to make a long run. Performance on a one-lap run was not bad but, five laps into the stint, the car was going away so bad that we were dropping five seconds a lap and it was really tough to stay on line."

The result, although disappointing, did at least cement Tagliani and Rocketsports into the top ten of standings, the sixth time that the French-Canadian has achieved the feat in his eight years in the series.

"It is a season filled with great potential, but with a couple of bad knocks that kept us from finishing on the podium and higher up in the championship," he reflected, "Overall, the team has been trying very hard all season, and I would like to thank them for all their hard work and dedication. Now we just have to look at the future."

Despite the setbacks, Tagliani is certain what he will be doing next season, although he would not be drawn on where he would be doing it.

"Champ Car is definitely my choice," he confirmed.


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