Edmonton: Simon Pagenaud preview

Pagenaud looking for more in Edmonton "I'm not the kind of guy to give up!" French racer says after taking Atlantic points lead (Indianapolis, IN) 17 July 2006--After having starting the first six rounds of the 2006 Yokohama Presents the Champ...

Pagenaud looking for more in Edmonton

"I'm not the kind of guy to give up!" French racer says after taking Atlantic points lead

(Indianapolis, IN) 17 July 2006--After having starting the first six rounds of the 2006 Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season no worse than third on the grid, starting fifteenth in Toronto was quite a change for young French racer Simon Pagenaud.

But after Team Australia had diagnosed and fixed the engine issue that cost him power in qualifying, Pagenaud made the most of an eventful Toronto race to finish fourth, and emerged with a nine-point lead in the championship standings after taking his sixth top-five result from the first seven races.

"I think what Toronto showed was that I am not the kind of guy to give up!" said Pagenaud. "We were in attack mode all race, and fortunately we avoided everyone else's trouble to get some more good points toward the championship."

As the Atlantic field prepares for round eight and the West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix Presented by The Brick in Edmonton this weekend, Pagenaud isn't about to play it conservatively after taking the points lead, as he knows how crucial the championship could be to making his next move up in the sport.

"My approach is not going to change at all because there are still a lot of points available, and I have to go into each weekend with the goal of getting everything possible out of it," said Pagenaud, who feels that he has benefited from his relationship with reigning Champ Car World Series Champion and fellow Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais.

"Sebastien has been very helpful to me, giving me advice about all these new tracks that I am learning, and about what kind of balance the car needs to have to be fast," said Pagenaud.

Pagenaud is keeping focused on the task at hand while also keeping an eye on the future, with the $2 million dollar award towards a 2007 Champ Car World Series program for the Atlantic Champion firmly in mind.

"Champ Car is my target, although if the right opportunity develops in Europe, that could be motivating as well," said Pagenaud. "A lot of things will depend on the Atlantic championship, because winning would create a lot of opportunity. But there is a lot of racing to go yet and I am focused on that."

Despite the distance between his hometown of Montmorillon, France, and Indianapolis, Pagenaud is feeling right at home in his new environment at Team Australia.

"Team Australia is very focused on winning the championship, and (team co-owner) Derrick Walker has put everything together to put us in a position to do that," said Pagenaud. "The team keeps improving the car, and now I have even more confidence after the weekend we had in Toronto."

Pagenaud's decision to race Stateside hasn't just meant a new set of tracks to learn, as the young Frenchman has also worked to adjust to his new life in Indianapolis.

"The food is the most difficult part!" joked Pagenaud. "Being so far from my friends and family at home, it's been important to me to feel comfortable, and I am enjoying living in Indianapolis, because I live quite close to the Team Australia shop, and that helps a lot with my relationship with the team. I am always training and I have a lot of work to do with my sponsors, and being in Indy has been good."

Looking forward to the closing stages of the Atlantic season, Pagenaud is pragmatic about the tracks he has yet to learn.

"Every track we race on this year is a new one to me, and I have really enjoyed the street races," said Pagenaud. "I am looking forward to racing at Road America because I understand it is quite the drivers track, but for me the most important thing isn't the track itself, it's just finding the right balance to be fast at all of them."

He will be looking to be fast once again this weekend in Edmonton for round eight of the twelve that comprise the 2006 Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season.

-sgm-

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Sébastien Bourdais , Simon Pagenaud