French racer gets weekend off to a fast start, setting the quickest lap in testing on Wednesday at PIR (Portland, OR) 15 June 2006--As the 2006 Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season starts a...
French racer gets weekend off to a fast start, setting the quickest lap in testing on Wednesday at PIR
(Portland, OR) 15 June 2006--As the 2006 Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season starts a hectic six-race, eight-weekend summer stretch, young French racer Simon Pagenaud is looking to continue his hot streak with Team Australia this weekend at Portland International Raceway.
For a driver who few had heard of Stateside before the 2006 Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season got started, Pagenaud has already made a name for himself in the highly-competitive Atlantic category, taking three top-four finishes including two runner-up results in the first three rounds of his American career.
As the Atlantic Championship heads to Portland for the Trinity Carpet 100k Portland Champ Car Atlantic round, Pagenaud is confident that he will be able to keep his competitive form as he looks to make his way into victory circle.
Pagenaud got the opportunity to get acquainted with the 1.964-mile Portland International Raceway course on Wednesday, and once again demonstrated his ability to learn new tracks quickly, setting the fastest lap of the day among twenty-six runners, further fueling his optimism for the weekend.
"We worked a lot today with Team Australia and we learned a lot about our car," said Pagenaud. "I am now really confident for this weekend, we can really expect for a win there. I feel very confident with the car, and this track suits me perfectly, I enjoyed so much the test today. I am really looking forward qualifying, which is my favorite part of the week end!!"
Pagenaud has impressed with his sheer speed on tracks that he has never seen before, taking the Friday pole position at Long Beach and Monterrey, and is keenly focused on the $2 million dollar prize that awaits the 2006 Atlantic Champion. Pagenaud enters the Portland weekend with a five-point deficit to series leader Andreas Wirth, and enjoys an eighteen-point buffer over Graham Rahal, who sits third in the championship.
"The points battle is of course the most important thing, so if we can't take a win, we want to continue with our strong finishes," said Pagenaud. "Portland looks like it will be an interesting track because you spend a lot of time in the corners. I just hope with that tight first turn, we can have a clean race start no matter where I am on the grid!"
Pagenaud and Team Australia will start practice on Friday, June 16th, with the race slated for a 10:00 am local start time.