Continued from part 2 ERIC MAUK: It's a little early. I'm sure you haven't delved into your race preparation yet. Can you tell us about your early thoughts on starting on the pole, how you attack that first corner in the morning. DAN ...
Continued from part 2
ERIC MAUK: It's a little early. I'm sure you haven't delved into your race preparation yet. Can you tell us about your early thoughts on starting on the pole, how you attack that first corner in the morning.
DAN CLARKE: We've had some pretty good starts this year. I mean, Portland we got into second place by the first corner. I'm confident that we can get a good start and still be in the race. It's going to be a two-hour race. Really got to nail down and work on our strategies now. We've got warmup to do that tomorrow, as well. It's going to be a different ballgame tomorrow.
It's great to achieve this milestone right now. The ramifications of what we've achieved already haven't really settled in. We just got to keep our heads down and get ready for a race.
I'm really pleased so far because we announced a new sponsor with Bradford White on the car for this event. That's really cool. It's great for them to see us achieving and being up there because it just works great in all ways.
I'm happy also to announce a new partner charity, the Imagine Charity, based back in Liverpool. Just feels like it's all I guess giving me good luck, so we want to stick with it.
ERIC MAUK: Congratulations, best of luck tomorrow.
As I failed to mention yesterday, the championship point that Dan earned for leading yesterday's qualifying moves him into a three-way tie for 10th in the championship standings. First time that Dan has been in the top 10 in this, his rookie season. He's also second in the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year standings, 19 points behind Will Power.
We'll take questions from the media now.
Q: Sebastien, with the weather being as inclement as it was, was it worth it for you to go out and try for a front row starting spot?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: There was nothing to lose. We were pretty happy with the car. We had some fast laps in the 15 minutes in that kind of conditions yesterday. We had some fast laps in the 15 minutes today, then we parked it early, then the track quickened. We lost the lead in the 15 minutes.
Every time we've been in the same conditions, and on dries, we've been quick. We only missed it yesterday when it really got drier.
No, we were pretty sure we could get that and we went for it. Just very happy it worked out.
Q: Could you talk about taking a your first pole position on the best and most challenging track in the United States. What parts of the track do you find the most challenging?
DAN CLARKE: Well, a lot of it actually is quite familiar with what I'm used to back home. It's quite similar to Spa and Oulton Park in England, as well. I'm sure a lot of people are going to be making connections with that.
All year a lot of other tracks have been really difficult because they're street circuits, and I haven't had much experience at that.
As part of a rookie in this championship, you just kind of have to meet the standard, keep slugging it out, trying your best every time. That's really what we've been doing.
This just feels like a continuation of that. It feels good in a way yesterday because we actually kind of outsmarted the rest of the paddock. That felt pretty good. We understand where the time came from, but it feels good to have made our own decisions as a team, gone off our own idea, I guess. Nobody else really seemed to think of it except Charles as well. Credit to Charles and Conquest Racing.
CHARLES ZWOLSMAN: Wasn't I first out (laughter)?
Q: Dan, what is your preference tomorrow? Full dry? Full wet? Considering you pulled it off in the 'tweener conditions, you want a weird race like that?
DAN CLARKE: It seems our advantage comes when it's a bit in between or changing. We were the ones that took advantage of it before anybody else.
Just going to take it as it comes. Seems like we're pretty good as adapting, but we'll see.
Q: Is it difficult, especially over the course of a two-hour race, to anticipate some wet, some dry? Is that pretty hard on the mind?
DAN CLARKE: Starting on pole, I don't think there's going to be any peace of mind until the checkered flag drops, especially if we stay at the front. Whatever happens, you know, it's going to be a tough race. We're rookies for a reason. That's still because we have yet to get the experience. The guys are going to be closing up behind us at the start. We've just got to do our best, both of us, to kind of close that gap, get on with the job.
Q: Charles, what does it feel like as a rookie to be starting up front with a fellow rookie and Champion like Sebastien?
CHARLES ZWOLSMAN: Obviously, having Sebastien there, Dan himself this year is pretty good, it's a great feeling seeing a lot of those guys behind us which have been up there all year. You know, in the other series, I've been driving, I've been up there, been on the pole several times. It feels good to also be able to do it in Champ Car. We needed the slicks, the whole situation here, to make it happen. Nevertheless, it feels pretty good.
Q: Are you confident you can beat him?
CHARLES ZWOLSMAN: Very confident (laughter). No, someday, you know, you always have to have the belief to do it, otherwise there's no point in going out there. So definitely I'm working hard. The team is working hard. We're making steps forward. Who knows, someday.
Q: Both you and Dan, being from Europe and having plenty of experience in the wet, do you think that gives you a good shot tomorrow?
CHARLES ZWOLSMAN: Yeah, I think, you know, me and Dan being from Europe, we're used to having rain races over there, especially Dan in England. Must rain all the time - at least everybody say (laughter).
But, no, I think it will be okay. Haven't had much experience in this car yet in the rain. I think we'll figure it out. We'll have to see tomorrow.
We did really well in the practice morning yesterday when we were fifth. We were running in the top two for a while, as well. That's confidence.
I don't know what you guys have seen of England, but it's not raining as much as you think it is (laughter). The day that we get cold racing over here, that's when you're going to see the English drivers coming out, yeah. But, no, we do well in the wet. We're happy.
Q: You talked about the possibilities, the prospects of wrapping up the championship. Is it important for you to get it done, to get it wrapped up as quickly as possible?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I think quite a lot of people didn't understand yesterday. The one reason why we couldn't really gamble going on slicks is because, you know, we've got everything to lose in these kind of conditions. You see A.J. going on wets, you see Justin going on wets. Going out on dries in that situation, it's the best way to get yourself beat.
If it works out, you're the hero. Again, good job. It just paid off on the last lap. So one lap, that was that.
It's just one of these conditions where you really have to think about the championship. Sometimes it's frustrating. For sure if we can go two races at the end of the season without being in championship mode, I like it a lot better. But, you know, we can only do so much. We'll have to do our own race tomorrow. If we can win and wrap up the championship, that would be awesome, especially with the way it is, with the guys being from around here, the families are there, it would be a hell of a party. McDonald's down the road. It would be awesome for the series also. It would be a lot more exposure on the U.S. market than in the middle of the night if we end up wrapping it up in Australia.
We probably won't choose, so we'll just have to get on with the job and get it done. If it works out, great. If it doesn't, just keep trying.
Q: How do you feel about starting in the front row with your closest competitors in the championship starting behind you?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I think everybody's going to try to win the race tomorrow. In the meantime, you know, they can't throw it away. They're good drivers. I trust their abilities to get everything done. We just going to go racing. Obviously the last thing we want to see is a wreck somewhere. It usually doesn't happen on the first row. I'm just happy to start where I am, next to Dan. I've got no problem with that. We'll have 51 laps to debate it. It's going to be a long race.
ERIC MAUK: All right. That will wrap up our press conference. Thank you all very much for attending. We will go racing tomorrow, Round 12, 51 laps here at Road America. Thank you very much.