BRUNO JUNQUEIRA CARDS FASTEST TIME OF TWO-DAY CHAMP CAR TESTING AFTER LEADING WEDNESDAY'S SESSION AT THE MILWAUKEE MILE
WEST ALLIS, Wisc. (May 4, 2005) - Wednesday's Champ Car World Series test session at the Milwaukee Mile wasn't the helter-skelter afternoon that it will be on race day but many of the teams of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford took advantage of that fact to get some work in, in advance of the June 4 Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 Presented by U.S. Bank.
Teams used the sunny Wednesday to make long testing runs on the mile oval, with many of the teams running over 100 laps in the afternoon session alone, one day after cold temperatures kept most teams on the sidelines until after lunchtime.
The full day of testing paid off in spades as most teams were able to make major gains, led by Newman/Haas Racing's Bruno Junqueira (#2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) who stopped the clocks today after a best lap of 20.890 seconds (177.846mph) to post the best time of the two-day session. Junqueira, whose best Milwaukee finish of fourth came in his rookie year of 2000, reported that his team was happy with the progress made today.
"It was OK today," he said. "We did a lot of work and some very long runs so that we could find things for our race setup. I think it went pretty well."
Mario Dominguez (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) hung the second-best time of the test on the board during Wednesday morning's session - the session that turned out to be the quickest of the week. Three of the top four times posted over the two days were registered in the morning hours on Wednesday, with defending race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay (#31 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) also slipping inside of 21 seconds in the morning. His afternoon run ended early however after an accident sent him to Froedtert Hospital for precautionary X-rays which proved to be negative. Hunter-Reay was released from the hospital and was back at the track before the end of the day.
The afternoon was tailor-made for long runs with Junqueira, Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Justin Wilson (#9 SanDisk Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) each turning in more than 150 laps. At the end of the day, Wilson had turned the fastest time of the afternoon with Bourdais checking in just one one-thousandth of a second behind.
"I'm really happy with whole team and the progress we made over the two days," Wilson said. :This is the most comfortable I've been on an oval. We made a couple of pretty long runs and the car responded reasonably well. I was able to run a lot in traffic. Up until today, the car was so loose I really couldn't get within 10 car lengths of anyone. Overall I think it's going to be an outstanding race (in June). Everyone seems to have a good understanding of how to go quicker here so it should be a lot of fun."
The Hunter-Reay accident and light contact by Tracy ended the days for both drivers a bit early, while Timo Glock (#8 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Ronnie Bremer (#55 HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) sat out after Tuesday incidents, opening things up on the track as cars were able to log laps without fighting the congestion that they will face on race weekend.
"The plan was to make long runs today because it was more representative of the weather conditions we expect to see here in June, but really I was expecting to have more traffic," Bourdais said. "We worked on a lot of things today but we have to analyze the data before coming to any conclusions because we made so many changes that at first look, it is hard to say exactly what worked and why it worked."
The Champ Cars will now pack up and head to Monterrey, Mexico for the May 20-22 Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix, which will be the second race of the 2005 Bridgestone presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season.