CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Top-three qualifiers press conference

Saturday Champ Car Post-Qualifying Press Conference Transcript With Paul Tracy, Sebastien Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira Eric Mauk: Ladies and gentlemen, we'll go ahead and start with our final qualifying press conference for the Champ Car Grand...

Saturday Champ Car
Post-Qualifying Press Conference Transcript
With Paul Tracy, Sebastien Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira

Eric Mauk: Ladies and gentlemen, we'll go ahead and start with our final qualifying press conference for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland, Round Four of the Bridgestone Presents Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Our third place qualifier, starting inside of the second row, driver of the #1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth Lola/Bridgestone for Forsythe Championship Racing, Paul Tracy, he put up a top lap of 59.414, 119.506 miles per hour, to take the third spot. How do you feel about the way things went today?

Paul Tracy: It went okay, other than the fact that we crashed at the end but the damage looks pretty minor. They rolled it back to the pit, and it's just really that the back wing was knocked off. But I had a good first run. Did a good time. I thought I could have gotten more from the car, but really, just my first flying lap was held up by traffic and then I had to abort the lap and then try to start over again. So the tires really wearing at their best.

And when I came in, I thought the car was good. I felt that we could go quicker, and went for the second time on the second set of tires and had a good lap going my first flying lap again matched the time that I did previously. And my second flying lap I was up better at the time. Coming out of the back straightaway, I was like .18 quicker which was going to be good. And then the car got a little bit of oversteer on me and I tried to stay in it and it just got away too far and came around and went into the tires. So, you know, it was right there, but not there.

Eric Mauk: Paul was penalized, lost his fastest lap for bringing up a red flag, but his next fastest lap, again the 59.3 was good enough to get him the third position for tomorrow's event. Second place starter who lost a front-row spot by virtue of leading yesterday's qualifying, Bruno Junqueira, driver of the #6 PacifiCare/Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman/Haas Racing. Bruno starts second here in Portland tomorrow. Today was troublesome for you, talk us through it.

Bruno Junqueira: I mean, the PacifiCare car did really good throughout the weekend, and it felt ready to be on the pole today again, or at least with competitive with Sebastien, Tracy. I thought that on my first run on hot tires, on the regular Bridgestone tires, I got a lot of traffic. I got stuck, I think I was two, three, sometimes four seconds off the pace, and I slowed down a little bit because he screwed my lap that was supposed to be the fast one, and then I slowed down and I saw one of the cars coming and I got up to speed, maybe two or three cars behind me, never even close. I remember slowing him down and then they told me -- the team told me there was no point any more to run, because they are going to penalize me, taking my fastest lap. And then I was ready to put a set of soft tires to run go on the 58 and get the pole but there was no point because they already penalized me.

And very, very frustrating, because they always make mistakes against me. They made one the last race in Milwaukee letting Oriol Servia pass me. I was in front of Oriol, and they did it twice in Australia and Vancouver and some other races. And they make a very difficult call. Sometimes, I mean they support the cars that's three seconds slower and will get behind me. What do you want to do, you don't want to waste your tires trying to pass him. I have to slow down to get space and the guy that was behind me, he had to come to the pits anyway. You know, it's very, very frustrating. PacifiCare Newman/Haas team did a very good work this weekend but unfortunately didn't get the pole. But I'm looking forward to see if we can have a good race and I think it will be good tomorrow.

Eric Mauk: Bruno was one of three drivers to lose a fast lap in today's qualifying session for violation of rule 6.17.4, Alex Sperafico of Mi-Jack Conquest and Gaston Mazzacane of Dale Coyne Racing were also penalized for the same violation. First in qualifying for tomorrow's event, driver of the #2 McDonald's Ford/Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman Haas Racing, earning his second pole of the year and seventh of his career with a best time of 59.229, 116.638, Sebastien Bourdais. Sebastien, it was going to take a quick lap to beat you today. Were surprised with how things went?

Sebastien Bourdais: I think the Newman Haas team did a great job for both the PacifiCare car and McDonald's car. It was a good chance and we kept up the good work and we started with a good setup. We had three setups today. Bruno was very fast, I don't know how he did his 59.2 but I think he was probably a bit faster than me at least. Unfortunately he did not get a good call, but I don't really feel the track was much better today and so I am happy that we can put up the time Bruno established yesterday, and tomorrow is going to be the race. And we have plenty of tires Bridgestone options and regular tires, so we should have a good chance.

Eric Mauk: Another hot day, another slick track out there, how did the tires hold up?

Sebastien Bourdais: Well, the tires are all right but you definitely have to change a lot, the setup on your car and try to make sure the revs are not going to go up. Looks like the conditions are going to be pretty similar. We are expecting the temperatures to go down a bit, it's not the case today, I think so we will see tomorrow.

Q: Any conversations with Champ Car officials or others?

Bruno Junqueira: No. It's a waste of time, you know, because you always talk with them and they don't listen to us. I mean, it's actually, when they make mistakes, they go to the drivers and say, oh, I'm sorry, it was our mistake. Last week, there was at least eight of the mistakes that they excused to the drivers, and now one day they decide they are going to make those kind of calls that are very great, you know, really difficult to make those calls. I'm very upset because the last race again they make a mistake, they go against me, and I'm not saying that they have anything against me, but, you know. And then the race is before in Monterrey because the qualify season, it's very sad. You know, everything you hear it looks like it's going the wrong way. I think I'm doing good at the track and I feel good at the track and it's very sad.

Q: Obviously, for the qualification you had a fast car, did you have a different setup, radically different?

Sebastien Bourdais: Not radically different. We went pretty far from the baseline because of the temperatures. I mean for the race setup, it's just going to be the regular changes between qualifying and racing setup.

Q: Looks like we are going to have the three green pit rule tomorrow -- what do you think of that?

Sebastien Bourdais: Doesn't look like it, it is. (Laughter). No, it is, it's still going to be like that. I mean, you know on an oval you're pitting five, six, seven times, it doesn't really matter at the end of the day -- with the yellows, it's different. But on this racetrack, we know that with the pit window, we are giving a good show. You know what I think about it, anyway.

Q: Paul, is the start tomorrow going to be wilder than usual out here? It's always pretty wild.

Paul Tracy: It's always pretty wild out here. Especially if you're trying to achieve a nice order here because everybody gets a little bit antsy from the middle back. So there's definitely opportunity and there's also consequence. I've been here many years. In the past, some guys thought they could go from 20th to third in the first corner. Maybe one time out of ten it works, but the other times it's always a huge problem. There are times when I've passed six, seven, eight cars in the first corner here. So we'll just have to say how they want to control the start. It's really in the starter's hands. It's up to him to tell us what he wants us to do and see what happens.

Q: I don't know if you're going to use the push to pass, but do you both plan to use it?

Bruno Junqueira: I'm going to be leading that one no matter what.

Q: Say that again?

Bruno Junqueira: I will be leading the first lap no matter what happens, if I need to use push to pass ten times, I will do it. (Laughter).

Q: Is there a limit on the push-to-pass?

Bruno Junqueira: I mean it. The lap is 59 seconds; then I can use the whole lap if I want to. (Laughter).

Q: Is there a way it works down the straightaway, is there a limit to how many seconds you can hold it?

Paul Tracy: It's on until you lift off.

Q: Somewhere that I read it's only 13 seconds; that's not true?

Paul Tracy: It's only eight, nine seconds long.

Q: Follow-up, if you don't make it through the first turn, there's a run-off, so like they are going to say the driver's name, but what happens, are you supposed to wait for everybody to go through?

Paul Tracy: You can not gain a position through there, so you have to slot in without gaining spots.

Eric Mauk: Same way it is everywhere we go. All right. Appreciate your attendance today and we go racing tomorrow at 1:00.

-ccws-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gaston Mazzacane , Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Sébastien Bourdais , Alex Sperafico , Dale Coyne
Teams Dale Coyne Racing