CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Team Australia race report

POWER'S VICTORY CHARGE DEFLATED AS PAGENAUD SCORES FIFTH IN CLEVELAND Team Australia driver Will Power has had a deflating tyre rob him of a chance of a second Champ Car victory for the season on a day when both Aussie Vineyards cars showed...

POWER'S VICTORY CHARGE DEFLATED AS PAGENAUD SCORES FIFTH IN CLEVELAND

Team Australia driver Will Power has had a deflating tyre rob him of a chance of a second Champ Car victory for the season on a day when both Aussie Vineyards cars showed great pace only to fall victim to poor luck in the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland in Ohio today.

Australian ace Power had victory slip from his grasp when he suffered a flat tyre as a result of a broken tyre valve on lap 75 in the 89-lap event. Power recovered to finish in 10th position, but this result did not reflect the exciting race the young driver from Toowoomba, Queensland had driven until the problem occurred late in the race.

Power's rookie team-mate and 2006 Atlantic Champion Simon Pagenaud also showed his potential today and was unlucky to miss earning his debut Champ Car podium in Cleveland, placing fifth and rising to eighth in the championship standings.

Power led more laps than any other driver with 32 laps led of the 89 laps in total. The 26-year-old, driving the #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01, was one of three cars to lap under the 57.7-second barrier in the race, along with team-mate Pagenaud and championship leader and today's polesitter Sebastien Bourdais.

For the second round in a row Champ Car used a standing start procedure and again it was Power who proved to have the best launch from the grid, passing team-mate Pagenaud into the first corner.

Power then took the lead on lap 35, leapfrogging three-time series champion Bourdais while in the pits, but encountered the tyre problem on lap 75, five laps after his final scheduled stop, forcing another pit stop for another tyre and ending any chance of his second victory of the season.

Power now drops to third in the Champ Car World Series standings behind former Formula 1 test driver Robert Doornbos, but has closed the gap to series leader Bourdais, who was 12th in today's race after developing an engine problem.

Pagenaud drove a solid race and showed his class by regularly lapping as one of the fastest cars on the circuit. It was only the timing of caution periods in relation to pit strategy that gave others the jump on the French rookie, but nonetheless fifth is a solid result for Pagenaud, who now rises to equal second in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year standings.

Paul Tracy won today's fifth round of the 2007 Champ Car World Series ahead of Doornbos and fellow F1 test driver Neel Jani.

Team Australia will be in action next weekend in Round 6 of the Champ Car World Series at the Mont Tremblant circuit in Quebec, Canada on June 29-July 1.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --

Will Power -- #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01

"We had a good start in the beginning, we were pretty much the same as everyone else and I just braked a little later on the first turn and got past Simon, which was sort of important for our strategy," said Power.

"We had the speed today and the fuel mileage, the yellow flag just did not go our way. It's the way the series is, you have a lot of yellows and we were on the standard strategy and a couple of guys had the advantage work out for them that were not on the same strategy.

"At least we showed everyone that we have the pace to match anybody out there today. The guys did a great job, we had a great car all weekend, great in and out laps, great pit stops, they did everything right.

"Now we just go onto Mont Tremblant with the same plan we have for every race -- get on pole and win one."

Simon Pagenaud -- #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01

"What a race," said Pagenaud.

"I don't understand what Will is doing to get such great standing starts and today I think that's because he was on the good line.

"Fortunately I had a great start, better than Sebastien and I was right on his tail at the start but Will got on the outside and passed me so I settled down and started to save fuel.

"I was surprised to see how well I was able to follow, especially while saving fuel. We had a great car the whole race, no issues, probably the best Aussie Vineyards car I've ever had.

"I just have to thank the whole team and Will, he's been working hard on the set-up with me. Team Australia has done a great job and just I want to thank them for their hard work."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"Today is a case of what could have been," said Gore.

"Both Will and Simon drove tremendous races and really did Aussie Vineyards and all of our sponsors proud. But unfortunately things did not fall our way today, and that's motor racing.

"This will serve as even greater motivation for Will, as I know he wants that second Champ Car victory badly and has his sights set on Sebastien's championship lead.

"For Simon today could have easily been his debut podium and while I am sure he is frustrated that he missed out on a top three finish, he proved his class and has shown that his day will come in the not-to-distant future.

"Team Australia was really on its game today but things just didn't pan out for us. We now look forward to Mont Tremblant and better results there."

-credit: team australia

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos , Neel Jani , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud