Friday's have been special for Team Australia's Simon Pagenaud this season in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship and even the rain in Portland couldn't dampen the efforts of the fast French rookie this afternoon. Pagenaud, the 22-year-old Team...
Friday's have been special for Team Australia's Simon Pagenaud this season in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship and even the rain in Portland couldn't dampen the efforts of the fast French rookie this afternoon.
Pagenaud, the 22-year-old Team Australia racer, recovered from a slow start in the morning practice session at Portland International Raceway and beat the elements to lead the first round of qualifying for Sunday's Trinity Carpet 100k.
Pagenaud posted a quick lap of 1:05.700 (107.616 mph) and established a new track record on just his third lap in Friday's 30-minute qualifying session at the fast 1.964-mile PIR road course.
Pagenaud's young Australian team mates James Davison was 21st in today's opening session, where a fraction of a second made an enormous difference.
The top 21 drivers today were separated by less than a second.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--..
Simon Pagenaud - #15 Team Australia
"This track is really quick and I love that. My car is set up for this kind of track, so I tried to do a good job," said Pagenaud.
"On Wednesday, we did a good job finding a good balance on the car. It rains a lot in Europe, especially in France, so I'm used to driving in the rain. It's necessary to have a good car in the rain and I think we do.
"I think we can win in rain. We are always at the top of the grid. I will try to win, but I won't go in to the fence just to get the win. My only goal is to win this championship because I want to be in Champ Car next year.
"I have to be smart, that's what I'll try to do tomorrow and Sunday."
James Davison - #5 Team Australia
"It is just so close out there and we need to only improve a little to be much further up the time sheets," said Davison.
"I have not had much experience driving in the rain, certainly not in these cars, so that was also a new experience for me.
"I am sure we can make some moves towards the front of the grid tomorrow."