Conquest Racing Says Goodbye to Champ Car with Both Cars in the Top Six
- Bernoldi crossed the finish line in fourth with Perera close behind in sixth -
LONG BEACH, California (April 20, 2008) - Conquest Racing put an end to their Champ Car era at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on a high note with both drivers finishing in the top-six, their best combined effort in the team's Champ Car history. Brazilian Enrique Bernoldi was fourth aboard the #36 Sangari machine moving him up to seventh in the point standings, while Frenchman Franck Perera was sixth in the #34 All Sport car.
Both drivers did well in their first and only start in the Champ Car World Series. With only a few days experience aboard these machines, the pair was able to fight with the more experienced drivers and bring home the team's best "combined" result. The Conquest drivers continuously put in competitive lap times throughout the race and made great passes to move up.
Perera and Bernoldi had a good standing start from their third and eighth places on the grid. Perera lost a position to eventual race winner Will Power at the start and another on a lap 3 restart to Paul Tracy which he quickly took back one lap later when the Canadian ran into the turn 1 runoff area. Both drivers gained an additional position, moving up to third and sixth respectively when Justin Wilson fell out of the race.
The pair had to come in early for their first pit stop and after the first round of stops was complete, Perera had lost a couple of laps and fell to fifth while Bernoldi remained in sixth where they remained up until lap 77 when Bernoldi got by his teammate for fifth. Two laps later they both passed Tagliani placing themselves in the top-five. Bernoldi kept his fourth position until the drop of the checker while Perera lost another position to Servia, when he was running short on fuel, to finish sixth.
4th - Enrique Bernoldi #36 Sangari Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone
"It was very good finishing fourth. I was close to the podium. I had a really good pace at the end of the race. It was tough though. The race was long and very tiring physically because the car is very demanding. I had a good race and I am happy to score points for the IndyCar Series Championship. I'm really happy, it's my best result so far this year, hopefully I can keep improving my positions like this."
6th - Franck Perera #34 Conquest Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone
"It was a tough race. I don't have the experience of Champ Car or Formula 1 like other guys so it is not easy. But it was good, I had a good start. I was third or fourth throughout most of the race and I was keeping up with Montagny and Tagliani. It was tough for me with the cold tires and the pit stops, it's not easy to be completely perfect on pit stops since I don't have a lot of experience doing them. After the last pit stop I struggled with my last set of tires and I was not as quick as at the beginning and I was losing a lot. I couldn't stay with the guys in front of me and I also had to save a lot of fuel at the end, that's when Servia passed me. It's bittersweet because I could have been on the podium but in the end it's good for Conquest to have both cars in the top-six."
Eric Bachelart, Conquest Racing owner
"We had a chance to finish on the podium today and we missed it for different reasons. This being said I am proud of what the Team achieved this weekend and having two cars with two rookie drivers finishing in the top six is definitely a good achievement. Franck had a very strong qualifying but he lost a few positions during the race while Enrique started from further behind and once again did a very strong race. The Long Beach event was a great success and the fans were once again well in attendance."