Sao Paolo, Brazil - Tagliani and his Barracuda Racing team carried positives and gained useful points from the two-day “trial by fire” at the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300.
The Canadian driver started the race in P15, following an action-packed Saturday that included two practice sessions and qualifying. The Barracuda Racing team tried a variety of setup changes throughout the weekend in their debut outing on the 11-turn, 2.536-mile, temporary street circuit.
An early full-course caution allowed Tagliani the opportunity to pit off sequence with the leaders, and cycle up to second place after the leaders made their first pit stops.
Unfortunately, the track position was short lived as Tagliani pitted after a restart, when he believed light contact had punctured one of his Firestone Firehawk tires. Falling all the way back to last place after making the unscheduled stop to change tires, he was able to fight back up to 12th place by the end of the race.
“The Barracuda Racing team made great improvements, considering we weren’t here last year, and we didn’t know the track from a car and setup perspective,” said Tagliani. “So with a two-day weekend and a quick turnaround, I think we had a good car for the race. We had a good strategy and we were running up front.
“Then on the second restart, I got hit from the back. I came in to change a tire and then when we went back out we had to pound some fast laps to make it back up. The other yellow flag didn’t come at the right time for us, so a bit of bad luck there. Hopefully our luck will come at the right time as we head to Indianapolis.”
The racing world now focuses its attention on the Greatest Spectacle in Racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Barracuda Racing crew will look to repeat their 2011 win and Tagliani’s historic pole position. Qualifications will take place on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19. The 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on Sunday, May 26 and will be broadcast live on ABC.