Justin Wilson qualifies sixth, Cristiano da Matta takes tenth spot in first qualifying session Portland, Ore., June 16, 2006 -- The first day of qualifying is complete at Portland International Raceway, and RuSPORT finds itself in the unusual ...
Justin Wilson qualifies sixth, Cristiano da Matta takes tenth spot in first qualifying session
Portland, Ore., June 16, 2006 -- The first day of qualifying is complete at Portland International Raceway, and RuSPORT finds itself in the unusual position of being without a car in the top five on the grid. Justin Wilson (#9 CDW / RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth / Lola / Bridgestone) stopped the clocks at 59.283 seconds, which was sixth-fastest on the day, while RuSPORT's newest member, Cristiano da Matta (#10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth / Lola / Bridgestone) recorded a best-lap time of 59.575 seconds and qualified in tenth position in his first day on-track with his new team.
"It's very disappointing", said Wilson. "I'd thought we could have been in the top three, at least. Something doesn't feel quite right with the car and I'm a bit baffled about why we've lost time. We need to study the data and see if we can figure out how to improve things for tomorrow."
"There are always lots of things to learn on the first day, and that's always hard," said da Matta. "As a team, we expected to unload the cars from the transporters and have them perform a little better than they are right now. But, we have lots of ideas for tomorrow, and I will continue through my process of getting used to everything, and we'll try to make it better overall for tomorrow."
"Unfortunately, today wasn't exactly the day we had hoped for," said RuSPORT president Jeremy Dale. "The morning practice session was excellent for Justin. He had a very competitive time very early on. But it seems that somehow the car just isn't where it needs to be. The team suspects that we may have had some type of failure somewhere on the car, but we won't know that until we really dig into it. In Justin's case, there's no reason for him to be sixth on the grid. He knows this track too well, and the car setup this morning proved that we had a good car. Cristiano has had a good day, for his first day with the team. They're chipping away at it. The morning was good, the afternoon was better, and I'm quite certain tomorrow will be more of the same."
Both Wilson and da Matta will attempt to improve their starting positions for Sunday's race in final qualifying tomorrow, starting at 4:45 pm EDT. The Grand Prix of Portland will be broadcast live on CBS, and will start at 3:30 pm EDT on Sunday, June 18.