The specialized journalists in the United States are for the most part unanimous in their forecast : Alexandre Tagliani is a favorite to win the event in the vans in NASCAR, which will be presented Sunday on the road course of Daytona.
And they have reason to claim that all the ingredients of a winning recipe, are met.
The veteran quebec driver, in his first start this year, is considered the most gifted among the 39 engaged on this type of plot.
And, what is more, he will find himself behind the wheel of one of the best pickups of the plateau.
The main person concerned is aware that expectations are high against it, as they were last year at the Mosport circuit in Ontario, where, on board the same Toyota Tundra number 51 for the team Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), it was ranked second.
“Regardless of the context, I always put pressure, reported Tagliani in a telephone interview with the Journal. I know very well that my chances are good, but, in return, I have to face opponents who have the privilege of running regularly in this series. Which is not my case. “
This vehicle of the team KBM has five victories in 11 starts this season with vans. The boss Busch has paraded in the circle of the winner four occasions. The other victory was achieved by Brandon Jones.
Never in the history, it will be recalled, Quebec has won the victory in the one or the other of the three major businesses of the NASCAR.
For the first time
The series of vans that will be his very first stop on the road course of the famous resort of Florida.
“We are all in the same boat,” remarked Tagliani, but I am racing for the first time in almost a year. “
Health problems have in effect been forced to put an end to his season in August 2019 NASCAR Pinty’s after contracting a virus.
“Today, he said, I am fully recovered, but the fact that there will be no period of free practice or qualifying session is going to complicate me the task. And, I have to admit, the competition is strong. “
Tagliani will start from the 21st position when the green flag will be waved under the stroke of noon.
“It will give me nothing to want to try everything in the first few laps,” he admits. First I need to tame the behavior of my van and then attempt to reassemble the pack by following. I don’t want to rush anything.
“My goal will not change, however. I want to win. I came so close in the past. Second-place finish will not be a satisfactory outcome for me. “
Another challenge for Lessard
Tagliani will have the chance to meet and especially to confront his team-mate Raphael Lessard, the proprietor of a driving full-time in the series of light trucks in 2020.
The young Beauceron has been favoured by the draw as he has inherited tenth place on the starting grid.
“This is my best position since the beginning of the pandemic, said Lessard. My experience on road trips is not comparable to hers, but I see this race as a new challenge for me. I’m ready to go. I am convinced that Tagliani will appear in my mirrors quite quickly… “
As his partner to a race, Lessard was installed during several hours in front of the simulator Toyota to perfect his knowledge of the track.
“I learned a lot,” said the 19-year driver, but it is on the real circuit that everything will happen. For a time this year, I am not among the few drivers who will have to learn the route. Nobody knows the true. “
Lessard will be his second time participating in the vans on the road circuit after his presence at Mosport last year, where he had managed to finish a very creditable tenth position.