Vasser, Tagliani Shape Up

Jimmy Vasser and Alex Tagliani were two of the biggest movers in final qualifying on Saturday, after spending most of the weekend mired in anonymity

Vasser, Tagliani Shape Up

Vasser vaulted from 13th on the overnight grid to a strong sixth in the final line-up, one place ahead of Tagliani, who had languished in 11th on Friday.

"It was a good qualifying session for the Gulfstream/PKV Racing team," said Vasser. "We made a lot of gains and worked hard to find the magic set-up.

"The car was much better this afternoon and I am very happy with the engineering crew. We also got some help with the set-up from [teammate] Cristiano [da Matta].

"The thing is that we need to come to races on Friday more in the ballpark, but the race tomorrow is what counts."

Tagliani had struggled on Friday with instability under braking and a chronic lack of grip on the concrete portions of the 1.657-mile street course.

But Team Australia (who in their former guise of Walker Racing have worked with Reynards rather than the now-ubiquitous Lolas for the past decade) made some judicious set-up changes on Saturday and Tagliani was much more competitive in qualifying.

"I am very happy because this is my best ever starting position here in Denver," said the French-Canadian. "The team did a brilliant job in the past 24 hours because we were really struggling yesterday. We definitely improved the car quite a bit today - especially under brakes."

The simultaneous progress of Vasser and Tagliani has a wider significance because they are locked in a tight battle four-way battle in the Championship standings, with just two points separating AJ Allmendinger in fifth from Tagliani in eighth.

"Starting in the top ten will make a big difference for our plan to move up in the Championship," reckoned Tagliani. "I am only two points from being in the top five, so that is certainly our target.

"I expect there is going to be a lot of attrition at this track and hopefully I will be able to stay out of trouble."

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