CHAMPCAR/CART: Montreal: Top three qualifiers press conference

Indy Molson Toronto Saturday Post Qualifying Press Conference SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS ORIOL SERVIA JUSTIN WILSON MERRILL CAIN: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to the Bridgestone Pole Award press conference following the final...

Indy Molson Toronto Saturday Post Qualifying Press Conference

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS
ORIOL SERVIA
JUSTIN WILSON

MERRILL CAIN: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to the Bridgestone Pole Award press conference following the final round of qualifying for the Molson Indy Montreal, Round 10 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

At this point I'd like to bring up Joe Barbieri, manager of Bridgestone Motorsports, who would like to present a very special pole award presentation to our pole winner today, Sebastien Bourdais.

JOE BARBIERI: Another one, No. 4. Congratulations. Besides the $5,000 that Sebastien has won, we also will donate $2500 to Champ Car's favourite charity, the Hole in the Wall Camp, and also there will be another $2500 to the local charity.

Congratulations again. Have a great race tomorrow. Keep up the good work.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Thank you.

MERRILL CAIN: Sebastien, we'll ask you a quick question. This track has been historically known to be very tough on tires. The Bridgestone Potenzas held up well for you today. Talk about that.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, the grip is extremely good, especially in these warm conditions. It's just the race is a different story. You need to have quite a big offset between the qualifying setup and race setup.

I think we figured out the qualifying setup really well.  For this
McDonald's car tomorrow, it's going to be very consistent.  We know what
we did last year.  It wasn't perfect.  But I think it was good enough
probably to win the race.  I know a lot of people stepped up, so we have
to do the same.  We'll see if it's good enough tomorrow.

MERRILL CAIN: We do want to point out, as Joe talked about, the local charity here is the Sacred Heart Hospital Foundation in Montreal. Again, a $2500 award going to the Sacred Heart Hospital Foundation of Montreal, courtesy of Bridgestone Motorsport. The season-ending champion, the gentleman who wins the most poles in Champ Car, wins a $30,000 bonus. We'd like to thank Bridgestone Motorsports for their support.

Let's continue talking with our third-place qualifier, Justin Wilson, driver of the #9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for RuSPORT. Justin had a top lap today of 1:22.851 seconds, 120.501 miles per hour, turned that on lap 12 today. He earned his first series pole earlier this year in Portland, was seventh in yesterday's abbreviated qualifying session.

Justin, I know things didn't play out the way for you the way you were hoping with Andrew Ranger's accident. You were very quick today, looking quick all day long. Talk to us about how things panned out for you in qualifying.

JUSTIN WILSON: I think qualifying was pretty good. We went out slightly earlier than some people and got a good time in, so I was quite pleased with that, and then slowly started to slip back down the order, which is kind of the normal situation as qualifying works out, everyone gets quicker towards the end with the second set of tires..

Sebastien was up a number of laps on my lap, but couldn't quite finish it off. Was quite pleased when the last lap I got held up, but also the person that held me up, not by their fault, but gave me a tow. You get back what you lose.

I'm just happy to get the lap done. Very pleased with CDW to be back on board with the car, bringing us good luck again.

MERRILL CAIN: Great performance overall from the RuSPORT team. Gave a great performance in qualifying. As you look ahead to the race tomorrow, Sebastien has been on rails pretty much all weekend, what do you think you have for him tomorrow?

JUSTIN WILSON: The race is a different thing. We've just got to be smart, make sure we have a good first lap, you know, see how the race pans out. It's going to be a very long, tough race. Anything can happen.

But I think we're going to be strong. Hopefully we can get the CDW car up the front and on the podium again.

MERRILL CAIN: Qualifying second, driver of the #2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman/Haas Racing, Oriol Servia, who posted a top lap today of 1:22.010 seconds. That's a speed of 120.851 miles an hour on his 14th and final lap. Ties his best series start of second place.

Oriol, what can you say? You did kind of save the drama till the end. Sebastien set up a time everybody was shooting for. You came the closest.

ORIOL SERVIA: All for the fans. Yesterday I really felt I had something for Sebastien. Today I didn't. He was definitely fast in the morning and faster now. I'm actually happy I'm second because the practice session, first run of the tires, I wasn't very happy with the car. We changed a little bit for the second round. The car was better. But every time I had a good lap going, either traffic or Glock spun twice in front of me. I couldn't put a lap together.

I saw there was only one minute left. They told me, "Last lap." It's one of those that every corner you see a 10th better, a 10th better. You just want to finish. You don't want a red flag. I was lucky, as I said, to put a lap together.

Nothing spectacular because Sebastien was obviously still two and a half 10ths faster, I think. But it's quite good starting second. It's a good position for tomorrow.

Justin, which is the closest in the championship, very close. But it's good that Paul is a little bit farther behind than yesterday so I think we're in good shape for tomorrow.

MERRILL CAIN: As Oriol points out, Paul Tracy, top qualifying Canadian, starting fifth in tomorrow's race.

Oriol, talk to us about that lap. Seemed like the drama was building towards the end of the session. Everything went pretty perfect for you in that lap, didn't it?

ORIOL SERVIA: Just went normal. All the other laps, I started late the last round. I only had five lap times to do. Every lap I was in a good lap, something happened. This was the last lap. Not that you're not sweating before, but definitely when is the last lap, last minute, you definitely are sweating more. Every braking, you go, Okay, I don't want to screw up. You need to make time.

It's a lot of fun. Once you finish it, then you done it right, you think, "Oh, that was fun." But every corner is very critical at that point.

MERRILL CAIN: Congratulations. Great effort today, qualifying second.

Your polesitter today, driver of the #1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman/Haas Racing, Sebastien Bourdais. He had a top lap of 1:20.396 seconds, a speed of 121.305 miles an hour, did that on his sixth lap. The 17th career pole position, fourth of the season for Sebastien. He takes the lead in the competition for poles for this season for Bridgestone Motorsport. He won the pole here last season, led 26 laps, before the incident with AJ Allmendinger. You're going to get a chance to redeem yourself tomorrow. As you look ahead to tomorrow's race, you have been pretty much perfect all weekend. What more can you do tomorrow besides bring it home?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I don't know. That's pretty much the way it happened last year. I was very happy with the way things went last year. As you mentioned, AJ was out of sync, was trying to get back to the podium after a bumpy start with PT. I guess we paid the price for his eager to get to the front. I was really unfortunate. Again, as I said last press conference, it was a point that was really important for us. We are just trying to reach the finish line and score points and try and grab this first championship.

All I hope for is just to have a clean race. I truly believe the car should be good enough. This McDonald's car has been good enough the whole weekend. There's no reason not to see it good tomorrow. I guess the weather conditions are going to play a big game for us. Apparently it might rain all night and possibly tomorrow showers. So we'll see what happens.

But we're not the slowest guy out there in the rain conditions.  If it
has to be rain, then be it.  But definitely under dry conditions the car
feels very good.  I'm pretty confident.

MERRILL CAIN: Talk to us about this track, how it applies to your skills. Again, you've been great here all weekend. Does it just fit your driving style well?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, the first year I really didn't like the way the car handled around here. It was really inaccurate, just didn't get a feel for it, and couldn't fix the understeer we had. Last year we came back and had very good improvements. I was extremely happy with the car. We just started off where we left it. Was pretty happy to see that.

We found a few tricks that improved it yet again.  It's always the way to
go.  Just keep moving forward.  It's a lot about braking very late,
curbing very well and getting out of the corner.  I can't say usually I'm
the fastest guy around the chicanes.  My buddy, the Spanish guy, is the
best one usually.  But you know what, we scored the pole position twice
this weekend.  The feeling is good.

MERRILL CAIN: Let's open it up for a few questions.

Q: Oriol, this track, you've always done well here, but never got to that top step of the podium. What is it going to take tomorrow for you to get past Sebastien and finally get No. 1 here in Montreal?

ORIOL SERVIA: I'll tell you after when Sebastien isn't here, you know (laughter).

MERRILL CAIN: Sebastien, could you step outside for just a second.

ORIOL SERVIA: I mean, I don't know. He's obviously very quick. We'll see. I mean, it's still a long race. Especially if it rains, anything can happen in the race. We'll see. We'll have to be smart. Still, obviously I want to win. It would be fantastic to win in Montreal for me. Still points are very important at this point of the season. We don't want to do any stupid stuff out there.

Q: Sebastien, four laps of yours quick enough for pole. Were you surprised you had that much of an advantage?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I didn't know what was going to happen after this morning, to be very honest. It looked like the field was going to be really tight. We didn't change the car very much. I was complaining about a bit of understeer. It's always tough to know what people are doing, you know, whether they put new set of tires after the morning practice and all that. So I was glad to see that during the 15 minutes we were plenty fast with the set we used at the end of this morning's practice.

You know, it just turned out to be a lot quicker than what I thought I was going to do. The first run was nearly really perfectly time because the track was in very good shape and I didn't run into traffic. I could have a very nice string of laps. Even though, as I said, I made one mistake in every single lap, it wasn't a big one. It was about a 10th, a 10th and a half from my best performance possible. So I think it was pretty good.

Q: Sebastien, I see on the first set of tires they took off in that session, you just brushed the wall, taking it in the last turn. Could you tell us where you did brush the wall? Talk about just getting to the absolute maximum. You found it there, obviously.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: No, I did it very early in the run, was probably a bit too eager to go fast too quickly. Touched the curb just ever so slightly in the fast chicane. As I said to Oriol, you don't want to touch these things because it just really hurts you pretty bad. Just barely clipped it, and it pushed the car wide. Obviously, there's something to stop you there. That's what happened.

Q: Sebastien, Paul Tracy is not beside you, not right behind you, he's two rows back. What will that mean for you in this race?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: You never know. You never know (laughter).

It's not only PT who wants to win around here. AJ is going to be there. Justin has nothing to lose either, he wants to get to the front. You know, everybody's going to try hard. Obviously, it's a long race. It's 79 laps long. I'm pretty sure, it tends to stretch out pretty nicely the first two or three rows around here. Hopefully going to kick off things pretty quickly at the start, stretch things out, and have a safe start. We have nearly 80 laps to figure it out. We'll see what happens.

Q: Justin, is it discouraging to see these guys so far ahead? Oriol is 3/10ths ahead of you, and Sebastien is 6/10ths ahead. Does that really make a difference in the race, do you think?

ORIOL SERVIA: Huge (laughter).

JUSTIN WILSON: Makes no difference whatsoever (laughter).

We're just pleased to be competitive again, up the front, have a good car. I'm very pleased with the way my car's handling at the minute. Now we've got a balance them, maybe we can work on trying to close that gap even more and get closer. Generally I think if we stay calm, keep focused, have a good, clean race, we can pull something out of this.

I managed watch most of the last race at Denver. There were a lot of people going off and a lot of opportunities missed. Just a shame I wasn't in that race.

Q: Tomorrow morning will be in your opinion a tactic of attack or preservation?

JUSTIN WILSON: It depends what circumstances win. I think the key to this kind of racing is being able to adjust. If you got the opportunity to attack, then we're going to attack. If we're in a situation where we need to defend or just stay stationary, we'll stay where we are. We'll achieve as much as we can possibly achieve and try and have a good race.

Q: Any plans?

JUSTIN WILSON: At the minute, no plans. Like I said, you've just got to think on your feet and stay smart.

Q: It seemed hotter today than yesterday. Was that a factor in speeds?

JUSTIN WILSON: Pretty hot all the days.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, I think it's enough to get the best out of the tires most of the time when it doesn't go to a point that it's too hot. But, you know, it was slightly hotter than yesterday, but not all that much. I don't think it really had a big influence.

The big influence I think about the performance is really that a lot of cars went around the racetrack and put some rubber on these patches. Definitely the patches are a lot grippier than yesterday. That's what makes a big difference.

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah (laughter).

Q: Justin, particularly good performance for you and the team, given that you lost quite a bit of time this morning due to the turbo and the fire. Could you sort of comment, you made the gains after having in a sense given away a good chunk of practice this morning.

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, the practice was a little bit disappointing. We're not sure what the failure is yet, but resulted in a fire on my third or fourth lap of actual proper running. We lost a lot of time there. We didn't get a chance to try some of the things we wanted to.

It's part of the benefit of being in a good, strong team where we can pool each other's information. The things I learnt yesterday that was good, we transferred them to AJ. Things that AJ learnt today, we transferred over. You know, we both were able to benefit from each other's experiences and make up for this kind of downtime.

I'm very pleased with how RuSPORT is performing. They've done a good job. Under the circumstances, I think the guys have done a great job today.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I'm sure AJ is really happy to see Justin is in front of him.

Q: In your comments about PT, you said, "You never know, everybody in the back will be pushing very hard."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I was just joking. Obviously, from P5, he gets to the first row, something bad is going to happen. I was just joking.

Q: But the guy right behind you, do you think he's going to push as hard as everybody is? The boss maybe told him to push a little less?

ORIOL SERVIA: I don't look like a body guard. I'm not playing body guard for him here (laughter).

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: He's a big guy (laughter).

ORIOL SERVIA: No, I mean, obviously for him is better to have his teammate beside him in the front row and Tracy fifth than the other way around. I'm pleased. That way I can help the team. Obviously, would like to be P1.

Q: Are you going to attack?

ORIOL SERVIA: If I have a chance, I will.

Q: You're not going to provocate, you're not going to try to make up a chance?

ORIOL SERVIA: Hey, in this kind of racing, you have to provoke any chance. It's not going to happen. He's not going to open the door for me. "You're nice, go in." If I feel I'm faster than him and I have a shot, I'll go for it obviously. You know, I think it's just natural. Still five races to go. A lot can happen.

MERRILL CAIN: Champ Car warm-up begins 9:45 tomorrow morning. Green flag for the Molson Indy Montreal takes place at 1:45 p.m., 79 laps, 214.011 miles around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

-ccws-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Gilles Villeneuve , Sébastien Bourdais , Andrew Ranger