Molson Indy Montreal first-round qualifying press conference with Oriol Servia, Paul Tracy and Bruno Junqueira. Eric Mauk: Ladies and Gentlemen, we'll go ahead and get started with our first round qualifying press conference for the Molson Indy...
Molson Indy Montreal first-round qualifying press conference with Oriol Servia, Paul Tracy and Bruno Junqueira.
Eric Mauk: Ladies and Gentlemen, we'll go ahead and get started with our first round qualifying press conference for the Molson Indy Montreal. We'll have our top three finishers, although we're joined by two of our top three at the moment. Third in today's first round of qualifying is Bruno Junqueira, driver of the #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. Bruno used his last trip around the 2.709 mile circuit to card a time of 1:21.476 seconds, 119.697 miles per hour to take the third spot. Bruno, take us through your day. What do you think about the way things went today in qualifying?
Bruno Junqueira: It was okay. The PacifiCare car today was very good in qualifying. I felt I could be on pole. I did two laps, then the red flag came on first set of tires. I was on a good lap when I got caught in traffic there. The red flag came, then we waited for the second run. Everybody was on the track at once. Everybody was trying to get clear lap. I got stuck behind Tiago Monteiro in the chicane. I was on the last lap when I got a clear lap, which put me in third. But it is very frustrating. I could go very much faster. I know a lot of people complain the same. That's pretty much what's happening for me.
Eric Mauk: Take us through the contact you had with Oriol a couple minutes from the end of session.
Bruno Junqueira: I don't know. I think it is the second time in a row that he hit me in the back. I think he doesn't know very well how to just brake when someone is in front. For sure, he was fast today. I don't know. I was not a hundred percent of the speed because, as I said, every time I get going, traffic appeared in front of me every single lap. Then Oriol just came and hit me. I didn't brake too early. Wasn't just pushing. I was lucky my car didn't bend too much. It was a little bit bent. Did my last lap with my steering wheel a little bit. It's frustrating because it took my chance to get the pole today and to get the point. But I'll try tomorrow.
Eric Mauk: Congratulations. Best of luck tomorrow. Second on the day is the series points leader, Paul Tracy, driver of the #3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. Paul put up a lap of 121.405 seconds, 119.801 miles per hour, to score the second spot. He'll be looking to secure his tenth front row starting spot of the season. Paul, take us through your day.
Paul Tracy: A little bit frustrating. We went out to start our session; right away it went red. We decided, "Okay, we'll just go out on fresh tires and do a run." Went out, I did a good time. We went to P1. Then I got traffic. I had to abort a lap, and I only had enough fuel for six laps. I did the sixth lap, it was quicker again. Then the team said I went through the first three, four corners, and I was up again by about two tenths, and I ran out of fuel just before the pit entrance on the straightaway. I ran out of fuel coming back to finish the lap. So I don't know if it was enough to beat Oriol's time, but it was definitely quicker than my quick time, and I ran out of fuel. Just not enough fuel. You know, because of traffic, I had to do an extra lap, so it was frustrating.
Eric Mauk: 12, 13 minutes went by without anyone going out today. When that happens, one red flag can really make it tough.
Paul Tracy: That really throws things out of whack because you get one flag in there, I mean, I don't know why they didn't bump-start Max. I don't know if the engine wouldn't fire. He let go of the rope, it took long. It just screws up the whole session for everybody. It's frustrating.
Eric Mauk: Safety team went to pull him in but the engine just wouldn't fire for him. Ended up taking longer. You get 18 cars out there at once, makes it a little rough. Good luck for tomorrow. Today's qualifying leader, Oriol Servia, driver of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, who used his last lap to take the day's honors with a lap of 1.21.112 seconds, 120.234 miles per hour. This is the first qualifying session Oriol has led this year, guaranteeing himself the first front row starting spot of his career for Sunday's race. He also earns a championship point for the effort, giving him 77, moving him into a tie with Adrian Fernandez for sixth in the championship. Oriol, congratulations. Great lap. Did you know you had that much speed in the car today?
Oriol Servia: Well, we had a very quick practice section, so the car felt really nice. I liked this place a lot last year, too. So every weekend you go to a track, you are hoping for a pole position in the race. I think at this place we have more chances than other places. So we just did everything right. I don't know, Bruno, it seems like we have a good relationship outside the track, but inside we don't understand each other very well. Same thing happened last race. And here, before you ask me, because I know you are going to, the lap before, you know, I was trying to slow down because I had a lot of traffic. I saw (Bruno) and I let him go by easy. Then next lap, he led the traffic. We got into the last hairpin. I could see he wasn't really going or not going, went very slow. I jumped in, but not to pass, just not to crash. I thought he was going to see me just moving. Close, we touched again.
I knew I was P1 before, but obviously everybody want to go quicker on the second set of tires. And I had like five laps on my second set of tires already, but I was hitting traffic, traffic. So I got very frustrated. We hit quite hard actually. My car was fine. I think I hurt a little my hand, but everything was okay. In the last lap, I go through the start/finish, I see P2. They tell me Tracy is P1. That really pissed me off.
Paul Tracy: You were pretty happy last week when you got that check in the mail from me.
Oriol Servia: Yeah.
Paul Tracy: Can you still carry the check with that sore hand?
Oriol Servia: I think the Visteon/Patrick Racing team has been working very hard all the way. We've been showing speed many times, but just not the right times. Today I did it, so I'm really happy. Hoping for tomorrow even better, and that I will win on Sunday.
Eric Mauk: How important is it to you to come out here and do well, especially this weekend, since after the last three races you guys have been fast but have had tough luck?
Oriol Servia: We had a really nice run. I think seven top-six finishes, the last three it's been DNF. It wasn't great. It's just great to be able to change a little the way things were going lately.
Eric Mauk: Congratulations, best of luck tomorrow. We'll take questions from the media.
Q: Oriol, anything new with the team, how you found the speed today, with the car or team?
Oriol Servia: Not that I know. We had a weekend off. I think it's good for everybody, not just us, I think the whole championship needed the weekend off. We just did same things we do every weekend, but obviously a little better.
Q: Every week, road course, street course, we have the same talk about it being frustrating, everything else. I see that Miami and Denver there's going to be one-car qualifying, single-car qualifying. Should there be single-car qualifying at every road course, speed course?
Paul Tracy: I don't think so, because at a track like this, where you have a long length or, say, Elkhart Lake or Mid-Ohio, anywhere with a decent run, it takes three laps to get the tires up to temperature, two flying laps. You're talking at Elkhart Lake about 12 minutes per car being on the track. It would take all day to qualify all 20 cars. It's a different story when you're at a track like we did single-car qualifying in England, it's a 35-second track. You know, in four minutes, it's over. Maybe the same for Miami. It's going to be about a 45-second track. You go to Elkhart, your out lap out of the pits is 2 minutes 20 seconds, your next lap is 2 minutes, the next one is 1 minute 50. It's not as easy as it sounds, just sending out one car at a time, because it will take a long time. You know, it's not possible to do that. We don't have tire warmers like Formula 1 has. They can get up to speed in one lap. They do their time right out of the pits because the tires are already up to temperature and pressure. It takes us three or four laps to get up to speed because of the pressures and the temperature.
Bruno Junqueira: In Miami, in Denver, it will be really difficult because they're going to give just three laps. As Paul said, you don't have tire warmers. But you have so many problems. Formula 1, they have tire warmers, then one qualifying lap for everybody. But, I mean, there can be two, three cars on the racetrack, is not a big deal, then it is going to take one hour. Give them three laps on a track like this is more than enough, four laps maybe would be even better. You can do hot tires, you know.
Oriol Servia: I completely agree, too, with Bruno. I think it's just frustrating on the second set of tires, I was not getting a lap. Toronto did one lap in 15 laps without traffic. We're all frustrated. By the end of the season, everybody's frustrated, and everybody's not making life easy for everybody else. It just makes it worse. I think that would help.
Q: Would perhaps it be better to go back to the way it was last year with two separate sessions or 10-second gap between the cars so there's more equality for everyone being out at the same time?
Oriol Servia: I think we all agreed two groups wasn't a good thing. But I think probably the single car is best, like Elkhart, like Paul says, it's too much, three or four cars at a time. Single car is better, for sure.
Eric Mauk: This will wrap-up today's press conference. Tomorrow's final qualifying takes place at 1:45 p.m. Thank you.