Robert Wickens Takes Pole In Vegas LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Saturday, 7 April 2007 -- Up against one of the most talented group of drivers anywhere in the motorsport world, one would think that a seventeen-year old high school student competing in...
Robert Wickens Takes Pole In Vegas
LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Saturday, 7 April 2007 -- Up against one of the most talented group of drivers anywhere in the motorsport world, one would think that a seventeen-year old high school student competing in his first Champ Car Atlantic event would be happy with a decent result to start the year. But for Toronto's Robert Wickens, the story was quite different today on the streets of Las Vegas as the Red Bull Team Forsythe driver stormed to pole position in final qualifying for Sunday's Vegas Grand Prix Champ Car Atlantic Race. After securing third place on the provisional grid during yesterday's first qualifying round, Wickens came out strong today as he topped the leaderboard in the morning practice session and followed that up with a scorching lap in final qualifying that saw the #3 Red Bull / INDECK Mazda-Cosworth/Cooper/Swift as the only car to break the 1m31s barrier and earn the very first Cooper Tires Pole Position. Cooper Tires provides a $1,000 pole award to the quickest driver and also contributes another $1,000 to the Hole in the Wall Camps, an official Champ Car charity.
Teammate John Edwards saw a strong effort succumb to bad luck as the youngest driver in Atlantic history was twice on laps good enough for second fastest lap of the day when the red flag came out to abort the session for incidents involving other cars. Despite the setback, the eighteen year-old native of Little Rock, Arkansas improved on his time from Friday's first round of Qualifying and will start Sunday's race from 9th on the grid in the #7 Red Bull / INDECK entry.
"I still can't believe it. We've worked hard all winter and all of this weekend to get to this point, but you can dream all you want about taking pole in your very first Atlantic race. To actually do it is amazing! Atlantic has always been very popular in Canada with a lot of great Canadian drivers coming up through the series, and to think that we've achieved this kind of result is just really satisfying. All the credit has to go to my crew and my engineer Lou D'Agostino; those guys gave me a perfect car. And of course I wouldn't be here today without the support of Red Bull. They are an amazing company when it comes to supporting racing, and for them to join forces with a team like Forsythe is pretty much a recipe for success. Now we have to finish the weekend the same way; a good start and a clean race!"
"Both the car and the driver were much, much better today but I'm very frustrated and feel bad for the team. We found some space on the track and had great laps going, not once but twice, when a red flag came out at exactly the wrong moment. To have that happen once is bad enough; but twice is kind of unbelievable. But the good news is we were on pace with the fastest guys and we know we have a very good race car on worn tires so all we can do is focus on the job at hand. I'm confident that we're quicker than some of the cars in front of us so I just need to have a clean start, stay out of trouble and make some passes. With a bit of luck a podium finish is possible so that's the goal. For sure the team deserves it!