Montreal: Team Australia Saturday notes

PAGENAUD TO START SECOND AND PATRIZI 12TH ON DEBUT IN MONTREAL Team Australia Champ Car Atlantic driver Simon Pagenaud will start this weekend's Champ Car Grand Prix de Montreal Atlantic race from second on the grid after final qualifying in ...

PAGENAUD TO START SECOND AND PATRIZI 12TH ON DEBUT IN MONTREAL

Team Australia Champ Car Atlantic driver Simon Pagenaud will start this weekend's Champ Car Grand Prix de Montreal Atlantic race from second on the grid after final qualifying in Canada today.

Pagenaud was third fastest in final qualifying at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and will start from the front row tomorrow by virtue of earning the fastest time in yesterday's opening qualifying session. It will be the eighth time this season that the Team Australia driver has started from the front row.

Pagenaud's effort today keeps him on track as he works towards earning Team Australia its first championship. The Frenchman currently leads the championship by 17 points over Graham Rahal, who will start third. Canadian James Hinchcliffe will start from pole position.

Team Australia Atlantic debutant Michael Patrizi again impressed with his speed, despite this being his first weekend in a Mazda-Cosworth Atlantic car and like Pagenaud, his first time to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Patrizi qualified the #5 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Swift in the top half of the field, setting a time only eight tenths of a second off of pole position on what is one of the longer circuits on the Atlantic schedule.

Patrizi's fastest time came after his missed the first part of the session while in the pits getting a damaged front wing replaced. The Aussie Vineyards driver ran out of room in the final chicane and ran across the kerbing, breaking his front wing on a marker cone. Patrizi was back on track in time to do a couple flying laps at the end of the session, which was enough for 12th.

The young Australian driver continues to improve and learn with every lap and will be doing his best to rise further places during the race with the hope of taking points from his team-mate's championship rivals.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --

Simon Pagenaud -- #15 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards/Location U/Cons. Gen. Vienne Swift

"My car is still really good," said Pagenaud.

"I don't have anything to complain about. The session went pretty well in the beginning and then on new tyres, the pressure went a little too high or something else happened. The car was difficult to drive in the end. It was a little disappointing but second position is good.

"Overall I don't feel the pressure. I love Montreal and I'm just going to get out there and drive tomorrow. I love racing in the rain, we have a great set-up so if it does rain tomorrow we will be good for sure."

Michael Patrizi -- #5 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Swift

"We have a very, very fast car here and all of the credit goes to the Team Australia/Walker Racing crew," said Patrizi.

"They have given us a really good car and unfortunately I made the mistake in qualifying. Obviously 12th position is a fantastic result for my first race here considering I just got in the car yesterday, which made it my fourth session in the car.

"I went through the cones and broke my front wing at the final chicane. I lost a lot of time because I had to make a quick stop for a new front wing. It's a credit to the car and the team, because we got out of there with three laps to go which put us in 12th position, so that's not too bad. I'm pretty happy with that."

Derrick Walker -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"It was unfortunate Michael got caught with one of the Forsythe cars," said Walker.

"He basically ran off the track and hit a cone, which took a chunk of time away from us. The car was quicker and he only needed a couple of laps. The time that we wasted in the pits made him lose the laps, which would have put him further up the grid.

"With this being his first time here with having never driven the car, never working with the team, and never seeing the track, to qualify 12th is outstanding. Full credit to the boys and Michael for a great weekend so far.

"Again it was there for Simon. He needed another lap or so to take the second pole this weekend, but we didn't have it when we needed it. It's not like it's a huge difference.

"The team's right on it and we have not lost sight of the championship. We continue to get stronger and stronger every step."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"Great job by Simon again but you really have to say the biggest performance for Team Australia this weekend has been the efforts of Michael Patrizi," said Gore.

"For him to travel half way around the world for a seat fitting on Tuesday and to come out and qualify 12th in a car he has never driven before and on a track he has never seen before is an outstanding effort and one which has justified our selection of him in the vacant seat.

"Michael is a focused young man who is determined to succeed in this sport and so far he has done nothing to indicate otherwise.

"I am sure Simon is driving around with a target on his back this weekend as the championship leader and I am pleased that we have Michael there as his wingman despite his lack of experience.

"Let's hope we can all celebrate with a glass of Aussie Vineyards wine tomorrow night."

-credit: team australia

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Graham Rahal , Gilles Villeneuve , Simon Pagenaud , Michael Patrizi