RSPORTS DRIVERS LOOK FORWARD TO TOMORROW'S RACE AFTER A MIXED FINAL QUALIFYING SESSION WHICH ULTIMATELY DID NOT IMPROVE THEIR GRID POSITIONS MONT-TREMBLANT, QC Canada (June 30, 2007) -- The RSPORTS team had a mixed day of emotions as they ...
RSPORTS DRIVERS LOOK FORWARD TO TOMORROW'S RACE AFTER A MIXED FINAL QUALIFYING SESSION WHICH ULTIMATELY DID NOT IMPROVE THEIR GRID POSITIONS
MONT-TREMBLANT, QC Canada (June 30, 2007) -- The RSPORTS team had a mixed day of emotions as they qualified for the inaugural Champ Car Grand Prix of Mont-Tremblant. Starting with dry weather up until the green flag dropped for the start of the final round of qualifying, the wet weather conditions dampened not only the track, but the team's hopes for improving their starting positions on the grid.
Justin Wilson did well in the #9 CDW Champ Car during the morning practice as he set the sixth fastest time running a 1:16.874 (122.741 mph) around the 2.6-mile track of Circuit Mont-Tremblant. The British driver was happy and expected a better qualifying time this afternoon, with the anticipation of grabbing a front row spot.
After a dry morning practice, the clouds came in and some light rain fell, throwing off the strategy that team had arranged for the final qualifying session. However, when it was time for the warm-up portion of this afternoon's final qualifying, the sun was shinning and the track had dried. Just as the green flag dropped for the 35-minute timed qualifying segment, the rain came down again. It was a hard enough rain this time to create a very wet track for the drivers, right at crunch time. However, only half of the track was wet, while the back half remained dry, causing quite the confusion of which tires to use -- slicks or wet tires.
Wilson went out for his first stint on the wet Bridgestone Potenza tires. He completed six laps, and when he ended his run, he sat P1. As the rain stopped and the track began to dry, Wilson opted to run his second stint on the harder Bridgestone Potenza slick tires. He recorded his final lap with a 1:20.981 (116.516 mph) and took the pole position, but Will Power crossed the line just after him as the last car and recorded a slightly faster time. Wilson ended as the second quickest this afternoon, but will start fourth on the grid as times were not quicker then the times recorded during the provisional round of qualifying on Friday.
Tagliani did make positive improvements as well this morning finishing the practice session eighth in the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Charity Program Champ Car. A late change during that session ended up not working as well as the team hoped, and they ran out of time to switch back, thus reflecting a lower position on the charts. What it did not reflect was the fact that he ran in the top five for most of that session. The French-Canadian driver was happy of what they found during the practice and had big expectations for the qualifying.
Unfortunately this afternoon he didn't have enough time to run with the Bridgestone Potenza slicks when the track was getting drier and quicker. Tagliani posted a 1:21.610 (115.618 mph) but will start eighth after his time did not beat the time he posted during Friday's qualifying. The hometown hero has high expectations in tomorrow's race because he knows that the car is better than his qualifying position.
Quotes Justin Wilson #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone
"We just missed out this afternoon. The track was getting quicker and quicker as it began to dry after the brief rain at the start of the qualifying session, and I could feel that we were getting faster each lap we did in the #9 CDW car, but it just was not enough to get us up there. It is a shame, because I thought that we had one of the quickest cars in the final qualifying session. The race should be interesting; it is going to depend on the weather to see just how crazy it might get. I think that we have a car that we can be competitive in, so I just am just looking forward to having a good race and getting the #9 CDW car back on the podium."
Alex Tagliani #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone
"We had a possibility of doing very well today in the #8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program car, but unfortunately we did not give ourselves enough time to do it this afternoon in qualifying. It is disappointing because we only did four laps on the Bridgestone Potenza slick tires, while most of the guys did six or seven on slicks. I think that we had a car that was good enough to be on the pole today. Since we weren't able to improve our position on the grid, then we are going to have to do it tomorrow during the race."