CHAMPCAR/CART: Assen: Post-race press conference

JUSTIN WILSON JAN HEYLEN BRUNO JUNQUEIRA THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Welcome to the post-race press conference. We're going to go ahead and get started with our third place finisher, Bruno Junqueira. Your second podium in as many...

JUSTIN WILSON

JAN HEYLEN

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Welcome to the post-race press conference. We're going to go ahead and get started with our third place finisher, Bruno Junqueira. Your second podium in as many places in here in Europe, seems to be turning the corner for Dale Coyne Racing.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: Yeah, very happy again today to race in Europe, I'm usually very lucky here where I won my last championship back in 2000, so I like those kinds of tracks.

The race today started pretty hard but we did a good start and Tracy ran in front of me, I hit him a little bit but still managed to lose just two positions. I passed one car and I was driving good. Suddenly I had a flat tire, maybe because I crash, I don't know. I had to pit, came out of order, I was last and when everybody pitted, I took the lead. My car was pretty good today. Could save fuel and still go pretty fast. I did a good pace throughout the whole race, almost the entire time I was leading and I felt very good. I think the team did a good job.

Unfortunately the last pit stop, when I came to the pits, this race is one of the only races that you have two speed limits. It's like 75 and then go back down to 40. So the speed limit to go 75, for some reason, I don't know, went to 40 miles per hour. So I tried to go back and reset for 75, so probably last three or four seconds on that stop and I had like four and a half seconds over Justin and I went to pit. So that compromised my race. I think it caused it to be close because Justin went one or two laps further than me. So it was close but unfortunately I lost three positions to Jan in the end but I was able to pass Gommendy and secure a position.

Anyway, I'm pretty happy starting 11th after a tough day yesterday. And to start the race with a flat and pretty happy second in the race and everything. I know I cannot win the championship but I want to finish as best as I can, maybe seven or eight would be great. So we have a third, we have a second and hopefully win one of the few last races of the year and we can get our first win.

Thank you, very much, everybody and I really enjoyed Holland, Belgium as well, both very, very nice tracks, and great crowds. People are enthusiastic and knowing about Champ Cars. It was a lot of fun to come here.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Bruno, now our second place finisher, Jan Heylen. And Jan, it's your first career podium and unfortunately about one race too late for you.

JAN HEYLEN: Yeah, well, finally. We had a tough season start already missing the first race and then coming into the season with a one-car team, definitely not the easiest. We didn't have the easiest start of the season, and then we had some bad luck at the start there in the first couple of races got taken out by Gommendy and that's another bad luck.

To top it all off, last week in my home race in Belgium, started off really bad on Friday, and then you know, we lost seventh gear in the race. We come here, fresh start, and the car felt pretty good and I think we held our pace on Saturday, the warmup, and then unfortunately, you know, I don't think I got the best out of it in qualifying.

But yeah, then today the race, I told Eric yesterday, I had the same feeling I had as when I'm on the Formula Ford Festival; everything felt good. The car was there to do it and like I said, after all of the bad luck, this was time for it to change, and it did.

And I'm so happy for the team for everybody, all of the sponsors involved, big thanks to them and I think everybody has done an amazing job for the car and the budget that we have. It's unbelievable to be here.

THE MODERATOR: Our winner today, Justin Wilson, who earned his first win this season here in Holland.

You had Jan on your tail pretty much most of the race, how was it holding him off?

JUSTIN WILSON:

Well, it was pretty tough. I did see Jan was quick. He was quick where I was weak. We got the top end gears slightly wrong. I was hitting the regulator coming into turn 15 and I could see Jan was very quick all the way through 15 to the last chicane. We had our work cut out making sure I didn't hit the limit to hard and kill the speed. So each lap was very inconsistent.

The car was working well, especially after the problems we had this morning in the warmup where we had an oil line leak. That put us behind. But everybody on the team has done a great job, the pit stops were good. And Mike Talbott, my engineer, did a fantastic job working out a setup with no run. So just got to thank them and CDW for them being great sponsors and being very supportive.

THE MODERATOR:

Thank you, Justin, and now we'll open up to questions from the media.

Q. Justin, Neel said earlier in the race you hit a cone or something; can you explain?

JUSTIN WILSON: I have no idea. (Laughter) I don't know. I was getting close to the one in turn 16. Each lap, if I got too wide there, I would pick up a lot of understeer. So I was trying to just try and burst that cone every lap and if I did that, I would get the best exit. So I don't know what happened.

Q. You made a lot of progress throughout the first laps, but it was said that passing was difficult here, can you go talk about it?

JAN HEYLEN: Yeah, we talked through it, the engineers, before we started the race and I predicted that that was going to be the place where it was going to happen. Luckily for me, it was easy enough to do it. The car coming out of turn 10 was really good. I think I gave every lap, I was pretty quick through 6 and 7. I think that's where I made up most of my time. And then it allowed me to be close enough to the guy in front of me to get a good run on them coming out of ten and then to overtake him coming out of 15. So it was, you know, I was a little surprised myself by how good everything was going. But it was good. It worked out.

Q. Justin, yesterday after second qualifying you were a little off the pace what changed from then until now?

JUSTIN WILSON: What has changed? Just the circumstances I think. I wasn't too confident that we had the pace. We were second in qualifying and then we went to the warm up this morning and had that gear box problem, and again didn't feel particularly confident. But at that stage we felt like we had nothing to lose. So we were in the fortunate position of starting second, and we think we worked out what we had done wrong with the setup and put it as close to right as we could. So, you know, I guess our predictions worked out.

Q. You seemed to have a good start, can you talk us through it?

JUSTIN WILSON: Well, you never can tell. The main thing was the lights were very quick again, so nobody had a chance to jump them. It was nice. No one was rolling and was able to get a reasonable start and then cut down the wheel spin and get on with it

Went down to turn one. It was nice of Sebastien to give me the inside. I think he was just returning the favor from San Jose.

Q. What are your overall thoughts on the success of the European tour?

JUSTIN WILSON: It's been fantastic to come here and come to two great events. You know, Champ Car has been to Europe before, and it's had reasonable success but not enough to keep it coming back here year after year. But today was fantastic. Last week was great. I was saying to my guys as we prepared up on the grid, I think this track is 2.8 miles and you've got 2.8 miles of banking all the way around, the grandstands. But you've got that banking all the way around and it was full. It was just incredible to see. To me it seems the same if not better than any Formula 1 race I've been to.

JAN HEYLEN: For me obviously to come here, and Zolder the home race, that in itself was fantastic. But like Justin said, I think both races have been a success.

But what stood out for me was how enthusiastic all of the people were, all of the parade laps and signing sessions and all of the people were there for the drivers. I think from my point of view, that was a difference from what we see in America. Yeah, looking forward to coming back here next year, and I think both promoters have done a really good job. And I'm sure they have learned a lot from it and I'll sure that next year when we come back, it will be even better.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I was very amazed by how many people were on the track. Today when they did the parade, as Justin said, there was people everywhere and people here and Belgium, they are very knowledgeable. They bring pictures of myself racing in Europe in Formula 1 in 2000 -- I look so much younger. (Laughter) so it brings to me a lot of good memories.

So as I said, the race fans here, racing is a very big sport in Europe. They follow a lot of European drivers that race in America and they follow Champ Car a lot. Being here in 2002 and 2003, we've been in Germany and in England; that was good. But I think the race today and the race in Belgium was great. I think today, I had never seen so many people on the track for so long like today. Even when I was racing in Formula 3000, the Formula 1 races, I don't know -- today, as Justin said, maybe more people than any Formula 1 race I've ever seen. It was a lot of fun. I think the only race that I see more people than today is Australia maybe and Mexico City was very good crowd and very enthusiastic.

Q. There was some issue with the power pass today; did any of you three have a problem with it and how did it affect the race?

JUSTIN WILSON: Well, I never got a chance to use it. I guess in hindsight that was a good thing. The team came on the radio and said "you are not allowed to use it." After that, it was pretty straightforward.

I was wanting to use it because I was revving in seventh gear so much, I really needed the extra RPM, but it just wasn't there.

JAN HEYLEN: I think I got lucky and used it once or twice in the beginning of the race and one time I used it right and got to pass someone. Same for me; the team came on the radio and they had to say two or three times before I really got it. But yeah, they made it clear that there was no more push-to-pass to be used and that was it for the rest of the race.

Again, maybe certainly a little thing, the push-to-pass does make the racing better, so it's a pity we couldn't use it anymore.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I used it very early in the race because I lost a few positions. I used once and then I didn't use it anymore. But unfortunately, I don't know, on the last pit stops as I said, the pit lane speed limiter came on, 45 miles per hour, I don't know, maybe because I use the push-to-pass or not. After the whole race, I couldn't use the push-to-pass anyway. I think they told me about that, but the radio wasn't very good. So I couldn't understand, but I couldn't use because I had to save.

Q. You mentioned earlier -- so far you had best results in Europe. Would you like to have more races in Europe?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I mean, maybe, I've never been Zolder, I've never been here. I just like when I come to Europe. But I mean, I like what Champ Car is because it's easy to race all over the world. We race in U.S., Canada, Mexico, I love the race in Australia. I actually love the race in Japan, that's a pretty nice place, as well. Unfortunately not racing there anymore but that's nice if one day we can come back. And Europe is very special. I think we need to have at least two races here, maybe more. If you go to a track that I know, it would be great, as well. In Europe there are so many nice tracks so it would be difficult to pick one.

Q. Justin, can you talk about your race and just how it played out -- were you at all concerned that these guys were going to make it?

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I was definitely concerned at some points during the race that Bruno being on a slightly different strategy might, you know, give him the opportunity to get the lead. He was ahead of me on track, but I knew when the pit cycled through that I should be back ahead.

So I just stuck to my plan of trying to save fuel. At that stage, I felt like I was racing Jan and Neel Jani, Gommendy, Doornbos, and I know Sebastien is always very good at fuel mileage. So I focused on getting very good mileage and let Bruno pull away. I knew when we all pitted at the same time, it was going to be those guys that had a chance. And then when it was time to go, I felt pretty good. The car was working well. The faster I went, the better my balance was.

-credit: ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Bruno Junqueira , Neel Jani , Dale Coyne
Teams Dale Coyne Racing