POST-QUALIFYING CHAMP CAR PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT WITH SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, JUSTIN WILSON AND PAUL TRACY THE MODERATOR: I'd like to welcome everyone to the Bridgestone Pole Award press conference for the Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of ...
POST-QUALIFYING CHAMP CAR PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT WITH SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, JUSTIN WILSON AND PAUL TRACY
THE MODERATOR: I'd like to welcome everyone to the Bridgestone Pole Award press conference for the Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey, presented by Roshfrans. First of all, to start out the press conference, I'd like to introduce Joe Barbieri, the manager of Bridgestone Motorsports. Joe has a special award for our polesitter today.
Joe, how important are the tires out there? It's a hundred-degree day. Take us through what it takes to put some good laps together and the consistency of the Bridgestones out there.
JOE BARBIERI: I guess tire maintenance, obviously. Living within the standards that the engineers put forth to the team engineers to make sure that they get the most out of their tires. Obviously, the guys here have been able to do that. I'm sure there are others in the field that weren't so happy today. But we still strive for that durability and consistency through set to set.
THE MODERATOR: Today Bridgestone is presenting a $10,000 reward, $5,000 of which goes to the pole winning driver, $2,500 goes to the Hole in the Wall Gang, the official charity of Champ Car, and another $2,500 to Bridgestone's charity of their choice in Monterrey, Mexico. For the drivers, first of all, Sebastien, talk about your laps out there and how the Bridgestones helped you be on the pole today.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, obviously the tires for me responded very well. I mean, I've been able to put a string of three laps in a row, good enough for pole, and within 1/10th of a second. I'm just very happy. The consistency in the run is very good. Bridgestone, as I said, is providing us with great sets. I mean, from one set to another, you can't find any difference. So that's a huge achievement. It used to be a big issue for manufacturers not so long ago. They completely fixed that, so it's great.
I'm just very happy for the McDonald's crew because they did an awesome job for us. It's quite a mad rush to really be there, you know, to compete in Indy and all that. So we've been going back and forth. We did the Portland test, the Milwaukee test, then we went to Indy, came here, going back to Indy, then Milwaukee again. It's a very, very long month, and I'm very happy that all the hard work is paying off. It's not easy, trust me.
THE MODERATOR: I might add that this is the second time in two years that Sebastien has set the track record here. So obviously he has a lot of success. Justin, talks about the Bridgestones, what they did out there for you today. You've had a pretty consistent weekend, in the top three all the way through.
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I'm very happy. My Bridgestone tires have been very consistent. Like Sebastien said, each time we put a set on, they do exactly what we expect. So we just keep tuning the car, trying to make it go quicker, get closer to this guy. You know, just keep working on it. I'm very happy. The RuSPORT team has done a great job. We'll see where we are in the race.
THE MODERATOR: PT, you had some inconsistency in the beginning. You have finally come around. Talk about the tires, how they helped you get through your qualifying lap and your huge improvement today.
PAUL TRACY: Well, I think, you know, really it didn't have anything to do with the tires. It's just, you know, I've been pushing maybe a little bit too hard and made some mistakes. You know, the track is just -- maybe I was pushing a little bit too hard on it. A little bit my fault yesterday.
We've had a good car all weekend. We've been in the top three or four every practice session just about, so we're quite happy with how we rebounded today. We just had to find the rhythm and put a string of laps together, and we were able to do that on both sets of tires this afternoon. So we're pretty happy.
THE MODERATOR: Once again, Sebastien showed his passion for excellence by winning the Bridgestone Pole Award. Joe, anything else you'd like to add before we move on?
JOE BARBIERI: No, just really appreciate the opportunity to be up here and share in this pole award. I'm sure the monies will go to great use here in the Monterrey area. We look forward to a great race tomorrow. Thanks a lot.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Joe. Again, Champ Car would like to thank Bridgestone for all their support this season. Sebastien, take us through that lap. It was a pretty amazing flyer you had out there today.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, then I'm going to have to lead you through the three of them because they were exactly the same, all pretty much. I think we didn't really leave anything on the racetrack. A bit here and there. But all in all, when you put three laps pretty much the same, that means the car is really effective, and you really having a good time in it.
So, no, I think we have a strong balance, and I have a great feeling with this racetrack. I've always been fast here. I wish it could be the same kind of situation every weekend. But, unfortunately, it's not always like that. So, you know, we just keep pushing.
Tomorrow is my biggest worries, to make it through the race, because it's going to be terribly hot. I'm really concerned about the sun pressure. I think, as you can see, every time we jump in the cars, we do 10, 15, 20 laps, and we are jumping out of the cars, and we're soaked. So I think we won't be able to lose that much water when we start the race. Once your body temperature rises, you're losing some concentration and it's getting really hard. It was much cooler last year. We still have some worries. I'm expecting a very tough race.
THE MODERATOR: Justin, your RuSPORT team has been very consistent all week. Take us through your two days and what improvements you had in the RuSPORT car, please.
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, as I said earlier, we just kept improving the car, making it stronger. We're all happy with the balance. You know, in qualifying, it was just a case of getting it all together and putting it on the track at the right time. I was getting a little bit frustrated with people coming out of the pits and holding me up. I knew the car was good on the first set. We didn't get a lap in. And I think it was my very last lap on my second set, I managed to get one clean lap and was up there.
We feel pretty happy and we're making progress. We're also understanding why we're making progress. So we feel like we're learning a lot.
THE MODERATOR: PT, take us through, you said some initial problems early in the week, some frustration more than anything. You finally put some good laps together this afternoon.
PAUL TRACY: Yeah. We decided to go early with our car because you never know what can happen here. They placed some tires on the track. During the warm-up sessions, some of those tires were getting kicked out onto the track. Guys start going through the grass a little bit.
We felt really that not scoring a time yesterday, we needed to at least put some type of a good time up on the board. I was able to go out and just do a nice four-, five-lap run at speed and put together a good lap which put us up to P1, built a little confidence with myself. Then we made a small change for the second run. From there, I did a better lap, but I lost a little bit in the last one sector. I made a small mistake and gave up the time that I had made. We improved just a little bit. A little bit disappointed by that. But to rebound from dead last yesterday to third, we're happy.
THE MODERATOR: I'd like to open it up for questions.
Q: Sebastien, you delayed a little bit the start in qualifying. Once you started, were you concerned about the first position of Paul?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I think we did a 14.2 during the warm-up session with a five-lap tire or something like that. I knew we could go a bit faster than what PT had done. But it's a matter of getting a chance to do it. You know, we got a red flag on the first run, didn't put a lap in. If for some reason I make a mistake, you spin the car, then you're out of contention. As every mistake is very easy to occur, you never know what's going to happen here.
But, no, I think we knew we had the speed to put the car on pole. It's just a matter of putting it together. Realistically I'm actually fairly happy about the situation because we're going to start the race with a very fresh set of tires. Got only a light scuff on it. It should be pretty good to start the race.
Q: Everybody has Ford-Cosworth engines. Talk about the consistency of those in the heat, how dependable they are race after race.
PAUL TRACY: I think it's going to be important tomorrow. You know, obviously everybody has the same powerplant. But how you run your radiators, the configuration that you have for cooling, it's going to be pretty tricky tomorrow. They say it's going to be even hotter tomorrow. It's tough to keep the cars, the temperature, cool.