CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Friday qualifying press conference

Champ Car World Series Qualifying Press Conference With Will Power Sebastien Bourdais Bruno Junqueira ERIC MAUK: First round qualifying for the Lexmark Indy 300, Round 13, Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. We will be joined by our...

Champ Car World Series Qualifying Press Conference With
Will Power
Sebastien Bourdais
Bruno Junqueira

ERIC MAUK: First round qualifying for the Lexmark Indy 300, Round 13, Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. We will be joined by our top three qualifiers in today's press conference. We'll start with the second and third place starters in first round qualifying.

The third fastest time of the day put up by the driver of the #2 Hole in the Wall Camps Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman/Haas Racing, Bruno Junqueira. Bruno put up a top time of 1 minute, 32.265 seconds, 109.055 miles per hour. Bruno, tell us a little bit about your session.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: It was a good session. The track was very fast today, kind of shiny. I enjoyed it a lot. I'm really happy to be back here at Surfers Paradise. This track is very nice.

The first stint I had a good lap and was a little behind Sebastien, and decided to put on the red tires for the second round. First couple of laps I was in traffic, I had a little mistake. It was a really good first lap, like half a second faster, and I went through really, really fast and I brushed the inside tire on the left - on the right - on the left center. I came out there and said they're going to have to stick because I have to make the last three corners because this lap is good.

Then they called the red. I don't know, I was maybe relieved that I didn't have to do those corners. Unfortunately because of that I didn't improve my lap time on the red tires, but quite happy to be third - Will Power, well done. He got the pole, and we'll see what happens tomorrow.

ERIC MAUK: Just to clarify because it's the first time that we have used the red-walled alternate Bridgestone Potenzas here that Bruno alluded to, each team gets two sets of these alternate Bridgestone Potenzas per weekend. They're a little softer compound, they get up temperature a little quicker, yield a little quicker time. They do tend to go away a little quicker than the standard tires.

Each team has two sets. They must run one of these red wall sets during the race on Sunday. It's the first time we've used those here at Surfers Paradise. Al Speyer from Bridgestone will be here tomorrow to answer any questions you have on those. Following up on that, Bruno, tell us about the difference you felt between the standards and the alternate Bridgestones today.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I felt the red tires were a little bit better, but I didn't have much left on the set of tires, so kind of frustrated at the loss because of that. But I think they are maybe three times faster, four times. For sure, they are faster. They have more natural grip, and I like it. We have another one tomorrow to try to improve our position.

ERIC MAUK: Our second place qualifier, first round qualifying, driver of the #1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman/Haas Racing, two-time defending Series champion Sebastien Bourdais. His quick lap, 1:31.774 seconds, 109.639 miles per hour. Sebastien, defending champion here at the Lexmark Indy 300, tell us a little bit about your session.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, we took off, was pretty straightforward at the beginning with a pretty good lap. I escaped a very scary moment in the first chicane and thought I was going to crash it but made it. But that was actually my quickest lap. So when I went back out after we decided with Craig (Hampson) to switch to the alternate tires, it was looking good. We ran a good first lap. I made a small adjustment in the car and went into turn one and that was that.

After that incident I actually had quite a few qualifying not to get in the way, and when I went back up for it, I was in the fast lap, like two and three tenths, and when I arrived in the fast chicane, A.J. was in the tires. A little bit of a shame. My car is right there this weekend, and great job to the racing team and to Will, and hopefully we'll have another shot at it tomorrow if it's dry.

ERIC MAUK: Fastest leading time, 1:31.4, you guys are faster here than you have been in three years, only half a second off the track record. If you get good conditions tomorrow, is that in jeopardy?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, potentially. I think we tend to see about a second per lap per day, so we should get pretty close to it.

ERIC MAUK: Good luck tomorrow. Our leader and first round qualifying for the Lexmark Indy 300, a young man most of you are familiar with, driver of the #5 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth Lola/Bridgestone, for Team Australia, Will Power, puts up a quick lap today of 1:31.403 seconds, 110.084 miles per hour. He guarantees himself a front row starting spot for Sunday's race and will be the first starting spot of his rookie campaign. He also becomes the first Australian-born driver ever to start in the front row at Surfers Paradise. Will, good day for you. Congratulations.

WILL POWER: Yeah, it feels great obviously. Yeah, we went out on the black tires and had a reasonable lap. Then we sat and waited, put the red tires on, found a lot more grip with that. I was pushing really hard, although the car still wasn't ideal. Yeah, we arrived on pole position.

ERIC MAUK: Were you surprised at the 31.4? You were quick on the blacks, but these guys, A.J. and Sebastien, were running 7s on the reds. Were you surprised to turn a lap as quick as you did?

WILL POWER: Yeah, I was surprised, 31.4. The next lap I was on before the red flag I was actually up again. There's more time in it. Obviously the track will run all weekend and tomorrow will be quicker so we'll have a shot at the real pole position. Yeah, I'm looking forward to it.

ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. Enjoy your evening. It's going to be a little more action packed than it would have been leading into today. With the point for leading today's qualifying, giving him 176 on the year and widening his gap over Dan Clarke in the Rookie of the Year standings to eight points, also guaranteed front row starting spot for Sunday, marks the first time since 2003 that Champ Car has had rookie drivers starting in the front row in back-to-back races. You remember Dan Clarke started in the front row at Road America. Last time it happened Sebastien Bourdais started at Road America in 2003 and the following race in Mid-Ohio Ryan-Hunter Reay started in the front row.

Q: I couldn't help but notice in the local papers that Dan Clarke made some rather controversial comments. He said I put my car on the pole for the last race, and Will is not scared, he's stupid. How do you respond to remarks like that?

WILL POWER: To be honest, I didn't even read it. Some of the media came up and said what he said, so on and so forth. It didn't bother me one bit. I'm doing what I'm doing, which is driving, and look where I am today.

Q: I just wondered if compared to last year is the track any different, any faster, any different in the chicane?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: At the left there are bands on the tires so there's really no mistakes, either you make it around because if you get it wrong you're going to hit something pretty bad in the corner in the chicane, especially in the quick section. I'm surprised we haven't seen more of them actually. Other than that, the grip is very high. Obviously I think it's probably related to the fact that we've had a lot of series going, yesterday, today, and we got good conditions, so it's quicker than usual.

Q: Will, the highlight of your racing career so far and will you push just as hard tomorrow for actual pole?

WILL POWER: Yeah, definitely. The track keeps getting quicker so you've got to keep on it. I mean, this is the first time I've been back to a track I've actually raced at, minimal laps at practice. Yeah, I think the car is good here. That's a good thing at this track. It's looking good overall for the weekend.

Q: You mentioned that this year has been a learning process for you in the car. Do you think you can squeeze anything more out of the car? Are you happy with where you're at as far as putting a great time together?

WILL POWER: Yeah, there's definitely more in the car. Like I said, I was up on the next lap. There's always more. That's the thing about driving, you can always find more. I gave it all I had and obviously I'll do the same all weekend.

Q: Will, Craig (Gore) is known for his generosity. Are you on any kind of incentive or bonus this weekend?

WILL POWER: I think he'll look after me. No, I mean, he's invested a lot into this team and he's also invested into the Atlantic program, so he has an Australian driver who can progress up through the ranks, BMW, I think he's really happy to see it's paying off, the investment he's put into me.

Q: Will, the result today, has that changed your expectations on what you can do on Sunday?

WILL POWER: Yeah, it actually has surprised me how quick we are here this weekend. Like I said, this is the first time - the first track that I've been to in the Series and raced at, and I think the team put a lot of effort in before this race because it's really important for us, Team Australia and all the Australian people, Australian fans. I guess this is the result. We're running up here with the big boys and hope to continue on with that. Anything is possible. If you're in the front row you have a good chance of winning or being on the podium.

Q: A question to Sebastien and Bruno. Talking about - Will was saying there's always more in the car. The session ended early. Did you think that there was more in your car than in yourself?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, I mean, for sure because my fastest lap on the tires was lap 2. It normally takes longer than that. I'm responsible for my own results. As Will said, we're only human and sometimes we make mistakes. There definitely was more in it.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: For me, as well. I did my last lap on hot tires, but I still think that Will's lap time today was really, really fast. I could have gotten really close to it. On the red tires I was very impressed when I got out of the car and saw 31.4. I was really impressed.

ERIC MAUK: A couple of housekeeping items before we let you go. Four cars did not run in qualifying today. Ryan Briscoe of RuSPORT had the accident in warm-up; Justin Wilson of RuSPORT has a wrist injury he's having looked at; Paul Tracy, the driver of the #3 Indeck car, banged up his car in the morning practice; Katherine Legge, the driver of the #20 Bell Micro car is battling a stomach virus and did not participate in qualifying. (THIS IS AMENDED AND SHOULD SAY THAT THERE WAS AN ENGINE PROBLEM IN THE 20 CAR, Ed.)

Second round qualifying is tomorrow which takes place at 2:00 p.m. Thank you very much.

-credit: ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Sébastien Bourdais , Katherine Legge , Ryan Briscoe , Will Power , Dan Clarke