RAIN DAMPENS FINAL QUALIFYING IN PORTLAND AS JUSTIN WILSON CLAIMS FIFTH CAREER POLE POSITION PORTLAND (June 9, 2007) -- Dark clouds and steady rain hung over Portland International Raceway guaranteeing Justin Wilson ( ...
RAIN DAMPENS FINAL QUALIFYING IN PORTLAND AS JUSTIN WILSON CLAIMS FIFTH CAREER POLE POSITION
PORTLAND (June 9, 2007) -- Dark clouds and steady rain hung over Portland International Raceway guaranteeing Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) his fifth career Champ Car World Series pole position. With the rain slowing down the lap times, the Brit's time from Friday's qualifying session earned him the top spot. The move also cements Wilson in the Champ Car record books as the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe's Sports and Outdoor will be the first ever Champ Car event to utilize standing starts. Portland is synonymous with Champ Car history hosting its inaugural event on June 12, 1909 and is also the sight of the closest finish in Champ Car history.
Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) set the quickest time during today's rainy session keeping him on the front row for the race. The second place starting position marks the Dutchman's best Champ Car qualifying effort of the year. Doornbos was almost relegated to the third starting position as Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay By Touch-Megaspiera Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) actually set the fastest time of the session, but on his next lap went off the track in Turn 7 and stalled the car. The resulting red-flag meant Gommendy was penalized his fastest lap and instead of starting on the front row, he will have to settle for his best career start of fifth.
Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) will line up third tomorrow with RSPORTS driver Alex Tagliani (#8 LXN2 Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) rounding out the second row.
A pair of rookies were fifth and sixth on the speed charts as Frenchmen Gommendy and Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) make up the third row. The second Team Australia driver Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) will start seventh.
Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) set the second fastest lap of the wet session, but it was good enough to improve upon his eighth qualifying spot. Dan Clarke (#4 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) will line-up ninth and PKV Racing's Neel Jani (#21 RedBull Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) will start 10th.
Forsythe Championship Racing's Oriol Servia (#7 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) were both disappointed in the weather as they were unable to improve upon their 11th and 13th starting spots respectively.
Champ Car history will be made as the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe's Sports and Outdoor will begin with a standing start at 1:00 p.m. local (4:00 p.m. ET) on Sunday. The event can be seen live on ABC Sports and 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: "Just a little disappointed I guess because this morning the car felt really good and we were already thinking to have a shot at the pole. As soon as we started qualifying it didn't seem to grip for us. Going around, the grip never came in. Don't quite know what happened, so we just kind of tried different things and didn't get quite much out of it, so while trying a little harder I spun the car. And just didn't have any grip. We'll see tomorrow what the conditions are. But I think it's, you know, in the championship view it's still pretty good. I think starting third here is all right, and we'll see. It's going be to be a long and tough race tomorrow.
Robert Doornbos: "Felt like home actually, in Holland. It was really wet, and I was pleasantly surprised. I think I can say the Bridgestone tires were extremely good for me the first two laps. It was also part our strategy basically being that first thing in the morning it was wet. We felt that the grip of the tire was there for two laps and then sort of decreased, so we decided to save all the tires for qualifying. And, yeah, it worked out well. Felt quite comfortable. Like Justin said as well, it's difficult to get a clear lap in and to see the difference between the drivers is quite big. I almost hit a guy -- I pushed a guy over the timing line really because he was driving so slow in the chicane. So not the best lap, but good enough and a great motivation boost for the team and for myself for tomorrow."
Justin Wilson: "Hopefully we can get a nice clean start and get into the first corner with all the bits still on the car and go from there. Yeah, I wanted the point, and I wanted to prove my point as well. But at the same time, we had to still make sure we had a race car for tomorrow because there's times when you're sliding around and you can't see what's ahead of you. You don't want to do anything silly and run into the back of anyone or lift up too early and have someone run into the back of me. So just trying to pick my moments and put a good lap in when it was time."