CHAMPCAR/CART: Ford Racing - Michel Jourdain Jr. interview at Laguna

Ford Racing CART Spring Preview - Day 2 Sunday, Feb. 10, 2002 Mazda Raceway/Laguna Seca Ford-Cosworth's 2002 CART Champ Car lineup will feature two drivers from Mexico this year. Six-year CART veteran Michel Jourdain Jr. joined Team Rahal just...

Ford Racing
CART Spring Preview - Day 2
Sunday, Feb. 10, 2002
Mazda Raceway/Laguna Seca

Ford-Cosworth's 2002 CART Champ Car lineup will feature two drivers from Mexico this year. Six-year CART veteran Michel Jourdain Jr. joined Team Rahal just weeks ago, bringing a new sponsor to the team and the race series. Rookie Mario Dominguez took his spot at Herdez Competition, and both will compete with Lola-Fords this season.

Jourdain comes to Team Rahal after his best season thus far; scoring 30 points, and gaining his first podium finish - a third at Michigan. The "veteran" driver, however, is still only 25 years old, and his situation at Team Rahal will mark the first time he has ever had a full-time teammate (Jimmy Vasser).

AFTER THE FIRST TWO DAYS OF TESTING WITH YOUR NEW TEAM, WHAT ARE YOUR INITIAL IMPRESSIONS? Michel Jourdain, Jr. - No. 9 Gigante Lola-Ford - Team Rahal - "I'm feeling good about it. I'm very motivated. This track is obviously different than where they had been testing at Sebring, but it's going great. It's great to work with Jimmy (Vasser). I'm feeling good about it."

IS THIS THE FIRST TIME YOU'VE WORKED WITH A TEAMMATE IN CART? "I've had teammates before, but never just one for a whole season. I've had some for part of a year, and once had five teammates in a year, but never for a whole season and never someone like Jimmy."

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE YOU'VE NOTICED FROM BEING WITH TEAM RAHAL TO OTHER TEAMS THAT YOU'VE BEEN WITH? "Not a lot yet, but I haven't been with them for a long time yet. The engineering staff is very good here; they compliment us very good. I have my own engineer here, so that's good, but I think the big thing is going to be to work all the time with a teammate ... a guy like Jimmy."

CAN YOU TELL US HOW THE SPONSORSHIP CAME TOGETHER? "Yeah, it came together very fast. Our first meeting with Gigante was on December 20, and then everyone took a two-week vacation (for the holidays). But we got together after and everyone was very professional, we were very motivated, and we worked very hard to get the program together. Me and my father worked on it together in Mexico, and we had three or four meetings with them before the people from Team Rahal came down and we helped put it all together."

YOU ARE RUNNING THE SAME PACKAGE YOU HAD LAST YEAR. HAVE YOU NOTICED MUCH DIFFERENCE WITH THE BOOST REDUCTION FROM 37 INCHES TO 34? "Yeah, I have. You can feel that there's less power. You do not really notice anything overall, except that there's less power, but I think that's because the people at Lola and Ford-Cosworth have done a good job over the winter."

WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER A GREAT SEASON FOR MICHEL JOURDAIN? "Well, of course you would like to say that we will win some races and be in good shape for the championship. But, I'm don't like to make a lot of predictions. I'd like to say that I think the team is great, and we're going to do a good job. Right now, this is an ideal situation. I have a great team in Team Rahal, a great teammate in Jimmy Vasser, a great sponsor in Gigante, a great package with the Lola-Ford ...it's great."

-ford-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Mario Dominguez , Michel Jourdain