CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Friday qualifying report

JUSTIN WILSON MAKES SPECTACULAR RUN TO PROVISIONAL POLE IN PORTLAND PORTLAND (June 8, 2007) -- Justin Wilson ( ...

JUSTIN WILSON MAKES SPECTACULAR RUN TO PROVISIONAL POLE IN PORTLAND

PORTLAND (June 8, 2007) -- Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) continued his dominance at Portland International Raceway, pacing the field during Friday's first round of qualifying for the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe's Sports and Outdoor. Under blue skies with the mercury in the thermometer rising to 70 degrees, Wilson negotiated the slippery 1.964-mile road course in 58.000 seconds (121.903 mph) to earn a championship point and a front row starting spot for Sunday's race.

Rookie sensation and Roshfrans Rookie of the Year leader Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) made his best qualifying effort of the year, earning the second fastest time during the session with a lap of 58.214 seconds (121.455 mph). Doornbos has raised many eyebrows in the Champ Car paddock, earning two podium finishes in his first three career starts.

Three-time defending Champ Car titlist Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was third fastest in the qualifying session as the changing track conditions kept the McDonald's driver off the front row. Bourdais turned a best lap of 58.308 seconds (121.260 mph) just edging RSPORTS driver Alex Tagliani (#8 LXN2 Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone). The veteran Canadian set the early pace and was able to adapt to the slippery circuit with a lap of 58.363 seconds (121.145 mph).

A pair of rookies were fifth and sixth on the speed charts as Frenchman Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay By Touch-Megaspiera Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) qualified within one-half of a second of Wilson. Pagenaud's Team Australia stablemate Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was seventh.

Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) set the eighth fastest time of the day with Minardi Team USA's Dan Clarke (#4 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) ninth and PKV Racing's Neel Jani (#21 RedBull Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) 10th.

Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) the 2003 Series Champion, struggled in his return after missing the last two races due to injury. The Canadian failed to complete a lap in the morning session after making contact with the wall. The Forsythe Championship Racing crew was forced to go to its backup car for qualifying and Tracy was only able to muster the 13th best time.

Final qualifying for the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe's Sports and Outdoor will begin at 2:00 p.m. local time (5:00 p.m. Eastern) on Saturday. With the race scheduled for Sunday, June 10 at 1:00 p.m. local (4:00 p.m. ET) and can be seen live on ABC Sports. Fans can also follow all of the action via the official website of the Champ Car World Series, www.champcar.ws.

QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE FRIDAY QUALIFIERS

Sebastien Bourdais: "We don't exactly know what happened, but for some reason the car went from acceptable to pretty bad in the second run and couldn't really improve. It was a little disappointing. I think we got a downshift issue. Again, should I say, with the strategy on the paddle shift in the first run, that really ruined the first run. I thought there was a lot more in the car. Then we put the reds on, made a little adjustment, went back out, and the whole thing was gone. There was no grip any more, so I hope we're going to find something on the setup because otherwise I have no idea what happened.

Robert Doornbos: "Well, it's fun to drive again on a normal circuit. About the car, we had upshift problems as well. It's just a disaster. We just can't seem to get rid of it. It takes time away from you. I just tried to drive around it and focus on a good lap, and we did it. We managed a good time. Hopefully it rains tomorrow and then we can practice that a little about it for Sunday as well. It's not a great car, to be honest, if you look on the paper, but it worked for the lap time. We might do something special again, and maybe find a bit of more time."

Justin Wilson: "Everything went quite well. We're pleased with the performance. I'm very happy with the way the whole team has been working and improving. We're just getting stronger and stronger and learning all the time. The lap itself was feeling quite good. We kept working away at it. I got a little bit of traffic on a few laps, but managed to put one lap together and it felt good. The option tires just added more grip. We didn't actually touch the setup between the two runs. We just put tires on. It worked very well. We're quite pleased. We feel like we've got some more in reserve for tomorrow if it does stay dry. Other than that, you know, we're quite happy."

-credit: ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Graham Rahal , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos , Neel Jani , Tristan Gommendy , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud , Dan Clarke