POWER SECOND AND PAGENAUD THIRD IN LONG BEACH QUALIFYING Team Australia has continued its impressive start to the 2007 Champ Car World Series with drivers Will Power and Simon Pagenaud qualifying second and third respectively for this weekend's...
POWER SECOND AND PAGENAUD THIRD IN LONG BEACH QUALIFYING
Team Australia has continued its impressive start to the 2007 Champ Car World Series with drivers Will Power and Simon Pagenaud qualifying second and third respectively for this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in California today.
Power will make his third front row start in four races in Long Beach as the Toowoomba-born driver seeks to hold his lead in the championship standings.
The Australian topped Friday's provisional qualifying session and was second fastest behind defending series champion Sebastien Bourdais in today's final session, a mere 0.149 seconds behind the pole time set by the three-time Champ Car champion.
Power admitted that a mistake at the tight Long Beach hairpin cost him the time he needed to eclipse Bourdais' best time and that imbalance in the car in the pre-qualifying practice session made him tentative in the early laps of qualifying.
Pagenaud continued to show impressive speed in only his second Champ Car event, qualifying third for this weekend's race and was the fastest rookie. The next best rookie in qualifying is Pagenaud's rival from last year's Atlantic championship, Graham Rahal, who was fifth fastest.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --
Will Power -- #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01
"In the practice session just before qualifying, I think there was something not quite right with our tyres or something because suddenly we had a really unbalanced car," said Power.
"That really knocked my confidence a little bit. We made a lot of changes before we went out and did a qualifying run on the red tyres. I wasn't sure what to expect in the car, so it took me a while to get back up to speed.
"I got my best lap on the last lap on my first run. And then the last, the second run, there was the red flag. Our tyres were almost up to temperature, so we were first out of pit lane.
"I think we were less than half a tenth off Sebastien's time, but I pushed too hard in the hairpin and I lost all my time there. You know, it was a good session and we will start from the front row.
"We already have a good points lead, so we'll be looking for a good mistake-free race tomorrow and we'll have a good think about strategy. We got the opportunity, because we got the front row yesterday, to run some heavy fuel loads today to concentrate on race set-up for tomorrow. We're in good shape."
Simon Pagenaud -- #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01
"Again, the car was really good today," said Pagenaud.
"We did a very good job in the practice this morning with Will and all the team. The car feels very good to me.
"I'm very proud of the Aussie Vineyards team. Just very proud of all the team and what we are doing at the moment."
Derrick Walker -- Team Australia Co-Owner
"We are knocking at the door again, which is great," said Walker.
"The Aussie Vineyards cars were super today. They really had the numbers they needed to get a pole.
"Unfortunately we didn't get the pole, but we got everything else that was on the table. We are looking good for the race tomorrow."
Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner
"The Aussie Vineyards team did an outstanding job today," said Gore.
"Will continues to put in an outstanding effort and while I'm sure he disappointed he didn't quite get pole position, a front row start still gives him a very good chance of leading into the first corner.
"For Simon to qualify in third position for only his second Champ Car start is an amazing performance by both him and the entire team.
"The entire team is on top of its game at the moment and both our drivers are doing a fantastic job. The team is taking nothing for granted and working harder than ever to keep moving forwards and stay on top."