CHAMPCAR: Long Beach: Justin Wilson Saturday report

Justin will have the honour of starting Champ Car's final race from pole position in the No. 02 McDonald's car. His pole-winning lap for Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach stopped the clocks at 1:06.902 (105.898 mph) and came at the very end...

Justin will have the honour of starting Champ Car's final race from pole position in the No. 02 McDonald's car. His pole-winning lap for Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach stopped the clocks at 1:06.902 (105.898 mph) and came at the very end of a tense final qualifying session during which Justin traded fastest laps with Walker Racing's Alex Tagliani. Justin's seventh Champ Car pole is his first at Long Beach and Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing's 11th at this event.

Justin was all set to stamp his authority on the session with a few laps to spare, but a stranded car interrupted his rhythm just as he was about to post a time in the mid-66 second bracket. With Tagliani having eclipsed Justin's Friday provisional pole time, the stakes were high in his final lap. "I was on a really good lap earlier in the run, but when I came into Turn 9 there was a car in the way", Justin explained. "That was frustrating, because I knew I was up four tenths (of a second) on my previous lap. After that, I'd overshot my tyres and was sliding around a bit more. The team were telling me the lap time I had to beat, so I was really pleased to stick one in there in the last few seconds and put the McDonald's car on the front row again."

Today's achievement marks the end of an emotional week for Justin, after he and his wife Julia celebrated the birth of their daughter Jane last Saturday. "It's been an amazing week", said Justin. "I'm feeling on top of the world right now and it would be great to seal it off with a win tomorrow. We've got the confidence and the ability to win and that's my goal."

Speaking about competing in Champ Car's final event, Justin added: "We're going to try the best we can to go out on a high. It's an emotional event for everybody, being the last Champ Car race, the last with the Panoz DP01 and also the last with the Cosworth engine. We want to do the best we can. It's going to be a fun race."

Justin will make his 55th and final Champ Car start alongside Alex Tagliani who was second quickest in the session (1:07.084). Franck Perera was third fastest for Conquest, while Justin's Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team-mate Graham Rahal qualified 9th (1:07.703).

-credit: justinwilson.co.uk

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Graham Rahal , Franck Perera