Oval Boost for Rookies

Bjorn Wirdheim and Marcus Marshall achieved the best qualifying positions of their respective Champ Car rookie seasons in Las Vegas on Friday night. The Swedish HVM driver was fifth fastest, while Team Australia racer Marshall will start tenth

Oval Boost for Rookies

Both drivers have had difficult starts to their Champ Car careers. Wirdheim has not yet delivered the speed that many were expecting from the former Formula 3000 Champion and Formula 1 test driver, while the inexperienced Marshall has qualified on the back row for most races, until Las Vegas.

The sole superspeedway on the Champ Car World Series calendar clearly suits the two rookies.

"You really have to grit your teeth and go for it," said Marshall. "I thought I would enjoy it because I have been quick on the faster-flowing stuff this year. It's just the more technical bits which have caught me out.

"I have struggled in qualifying this year, so to be in the top ten is obviously pleasing. We just need to make sure we now convert it in the race. I am sure it is going to be a lot different deal with 17 other cars around me tomorrow."

"I am getting the hang of these ovals quickly and I do enjoy them," said Wirdheim. "So far my best two qualifying results have come on the two ovals and I am proud of those results considering I had never driven on an oval prior to coming to America this year."

Wirdheim and Marshall's teammates had contrasting fortunes. While Wirdheim's HVM partner Rodolfo Lavin qualified an excellent seventh despite losing most of practice to a gearbox failure, Marshall's team leader Alex Tagliani was back in 13th and perplexed by his car's lack of speed.

"We just have no pace," said Tagliani, who received a new engine for qualifying in a vain attempt to solve his problems. "We can change a few small things overnight, but I am not sure how much we can do.

"I am holding it flat the whole way and guys are pulling away from me and that's not a good feeling."

shares
comments
Tracy Expects Better Race
Previous article

Tracy Expects Better Race

Next article

Brazil Takes Dominant First Pole

Brazil Takes Dominant First Pole
Porsche’s hopeful Le Mans future meets its illustrious past Plus

Porsche’s hopeful Le Mans future meets its illustrious past

Rising sportscar star Adam Smalley had to pinch himself when offered the chance to drive the car that won the world’s most famous enduro in 1987

Historics
Sep 6, 2022
Why romanticism isn't the key factor in Lola’s racing return Plus

Why romanticism isn't the key factor in Lola’s racing return

The iconic Lola name is being relaunched after it was taken over by new ownership. Part of that reboot is a planned return to racing, though the exact details of this are still to be finalised - though its new owner does have a desire to bring the brand back to the Le Mans 24 Hours. But romanticism doesn't appear to be the driving force behind this renewed project...

General
Jul 14, 2022
Rating the best drivers of the century so far Plus

Rating the best drivers of the century so far

Autosport's Top 50 feature has been a staple of the magazine for the past two decades since its first appearance in 2002. Here are the drivers that have featured most prevalently during that time

General
Jan 7, 2022
The best motorsport moments of 2021 Plus

The best motorsport moments of 2021

Motorsport produced one of its greatest years of all-time in 2021 despite a backdrop of ongoing COVID-19 challenges and an ever-changing racing landscape. Through the non-stop action Autosport has collected the finest moments from the past 12 months to highlight the incredible drama and joy motorsport generates

General
Dec 31, 2021
The racing comeback artists who resurrected long-dormant careers Plus

The racing comeback artists who resurrected long-dormant careers

Making it in motorsport can be tough, and sometimes drivers move elsewhere before their best chance arrives. Here are some of those who made it back

General
Dec 26, 2021
The hidden racing gem attracting ex-F1 heroes Plus

The hidden racing gem attracting ex-F1 heroes

It’s rarely mentioned when it comes to assessing the best national contests, but the Brazilian Stock Car series that reaches its climax this weekend has an ever-growing appeal. Its expanding roster of ex-Formula 1 names has helped to draw in new fans, but it's the closeness of competition that keeps them watching

General
Dec 10, 2021
The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under Plus

The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under

Joey Mawson made waves in the middle of the last decade, beating future Haas Formula 1 driver Mick Schumacher - among other highly-rated talents - to the 2016 German F4 title. A run in F1's feeder GP3 category only caused his career to stall, but now back in Australia Mawson's S5000 title success has set that to rights

General
May 8, 2021
The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing Plus

The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing

OPINION: The greed-driven push for a European Super League that threatened to tear football apart is collapsing at the seams. Motor racing's equivalent, the football-themed Superleague Formula series of 2008-11, was everything that the proposed ESL never could be

General
Apr 21, 2021