SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS BASHES TRACK RECORD IN FINAL DAY OF CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES TESTING AT PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL PORTLAND, Ore. (April 13, 2006) -- Two-time defending Champ Car champion and current series points leader Sebastien Bourdais ( ...
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS BASHES TRACK RECORD IN FINAL DAY OF CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES TESTING AT PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL
PORTLAND, Ore. (April 13, 2006) -- Two-time defending Champ Car champion and current series points leader Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) spent most of Wednesday sitting around watching his Newman/Haas squad work on his car, while the rest of the field turned test laps around Portland International Raceway.
Bourdais made up for that down time in a big way on a cloudy Thursday, getting around the 1.964-mile road course in 57.335 seconds (123.317 mph) to lead the final day of open testing for the teams and drivers of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. His best lap was more than a quarter of a second quicker than the existing track record, although it will not stand as an official track mark as records can be set only in qualifying or in a race.
"We didn't really chase lap times but the car was consistent and I'm very confident that we will have a good starting point when we come back in June," Bourdais said. "We got a lot done and I think we accomplished most of what we wanted to do."
Yesterday's testing leader Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) had the fastest lap of the afternoon session and was second overall with a best time of 57.532 seconds (122.895 mph), while PKV Racing's Oriol Servia (#6 Gulfstream/Bell Micro Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) checked in with the third-best time, stopping the clocks at 57.631 seconds (122.684 mph).
"I did my job and now the engineers have their work cut out for them as we have a lot of data to go through," Servia grinned. "It went pretty well today, we did a lot of work and worked through most of what we needed to get through. It was nice to turn some fast laps and I think we'll be in good shape when we come back here."
Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and A.J. Allmendinger (#10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) rounded out the top five on the day, turning laps that were less than a tenth of a second off of Servia's best pass.
"We weren't on the top of the charts but we were consistent throughout the whole test and I am happy about that," Tracy said. "A lot of guys were up and down and all over the charts, but we were always in the top three or four. We just need to work on finding a little more speed,"
The afternoon was a tough one for most of the 18 drivers as a cold and cloudy day ended up with more red flags than a bullfight. The Portland track, usually quicker during cold days, turned diabolical in the afternoon as conditions got slicker, catching a number of the Champ Car rookies off guard. Four of the first-year pilots ended up getting unscheduled seat time with the Champ Car Safety Team as their cars came back on the business end of a tow truck. None of the incidents were serious and no drivers were injured.
"I'm not sure what happened to the track, whether someone was dropping oil or what, but the track was very slick in the afternoon," said Servia. "I was losing three-tenths per lap on a couple of the turns. It was very tough to drive."
Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was the top rookie on the day, logging the eighth-best lap with a time of 58.251 seconds (121.378 mph). He missed the last hour of the session after being one of the rookie quartet to have an incident, but made good gains in his two days in Portland.
"We came here to get a good road-course setup and I think we made a lot of good progress," Power said. "If I hadn't have gone off, we probably would have put up a good time at the end of the day. That was a bit unfortunate, but I think we ended up headed in the right direction."
The Champ Car World Series will be off until May 11-13, when everyone heads to Texas for the new-look Champ Car Grand Prix of Houston, to be held Saturday night May 13. The series heads back to Portland June 16-18 for the 23rd running of the Grand Prix of Portland.