PAGENAUD THIRD IN CLOSE ATLANTIC QUALIFYING Team Australia's Simon Pagenaud will start tomorrow's eighth round of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship from third on the grid after a remarkable close and hard fought final qualifying session in ...
PAGENAUD THIRD IN CLOSE ATLANTIC QUALIFYING
Team Australia's Simon Pagenaud will start tomorrow's eighth round of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship from third on the grid after a remarkable close and hard fought final qualifying session in Edmonton, Canada today.
Pagenaud was only 0.013 seconds behind pole winner Raphael Matos in a session where the top four drivers were covered by only one tenth of a second.
The Frenchman is aiming at maintaining his Atlantic championship lead this weekend at Edmonton. Pagenaud's two championship rivals Graham Rahal and Andreas Wirth are starting on the front two rows with the Team Australia driver, Rahal in second and Wirth in fourth.
Australian driver James Davison could not put his Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Swift in the top 10 as he did yesterday, but 16th place is still a solid effort for the young gun as he learns the ropes in the competitive Atlantic category.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --
SIMON PAGENAUD -- #15 TEAM AUSTRALIA/AUSSIE VINEYARDS SWIFT
"I picked up a lot of grip out there, a lot of rubber and it was a lot faster today," said Pagenaud.
"It was a more physical to drive but that's OK, we have a very good car. I great set-up and I didn't have any issues with it. My first set of tyres was really good and had a great time posting the first overall.
"With the new tyres we didn't pick up the speed we were expecting, which was pretty strange, but I made the mistake by getting stuck in traffic, which is why we didn't improve our time. We are at the front for tomorrow, so I'm confident that we will have a good run for the race."
JAMES DAVISON -- #5 TEAM AUSTRALIA/AUSSIE VINEYARDS SWIFT
"The track definitely changed today, it was really hot which made qualifying a lot more difficult," said Davison.
"It was very physical out there because the car is at its fastest when it's that warm. My aim is top ten and we can do it. For tomorrow's race it will be hard to overtake. Being in the middle will make it more challenging, but we will fight for a good result.
"I feel confident for tomorrow and I'm ready to get a good result on paper for myself and the team."
DERRICK WALKER -- TEAM AUSTRALIA CO-OWNER
"As it always happens for Simon on the second day, the pack begins to figure it out," said Walker.
"I think our guys figure out the race track pretty good on the first day and on the second day everyone sort of catches up. The track changed a bit today. It got warmer, so we lost a little bit of our advantage but other than getting caught in some traffic, the car was capable of going P1 today. Would have, could have, doesn't cut it, you've got to do it.
"It's fine, we're P3 and on the first two rows. Again the speed charts moved up for everybody and with James we didn't have a big enough gain for him to retain his position from yesterday. All in all the car is really good, he just needs to be smart in the start and settle down as it will be a long race and we need to be there in the end and get a good finish under his belt."
CRAIG GORE -- TEAM AUSTRALIA CO-OWNER
"Simon will start in the first two rows of the grid, which is generally considered the place you have to qualify to be a genuine chance of a race win," said Gore.
"The Champ Car Atlantic category is incredibly tough this year, so it will take a lot of work for Simon to keep the championship lead. But if anyone is up to it, it is Simon and the Team Australia crew.
"James might be a little disappointed with 16th, but that is probably because he is improving so quickly that he has raised his goals a little. I'm sure he is capable of bringing the car home in the top 10 tomorrow."