Portland: Team Australia Saturday notes

Team Australia's Simon Pagenaud will start from the front row for the third time in four races in tomorrow's fourth round of the Champ Car Atlantic Series in Portland Oregon. Pagenaud, who was quickest in yesterday's opening qualifying, was...

Team Australia's Simon Pagenaud will start from the front row for the third time in four races in tomorrow's fourth round of the Champ Car Atlantic Series in Portland Oregon.

Pagenaud, who was quickest in yesterday's opening qualifying, was pipped for pole by 17 year-old rookie Graham Rahal -- son of Champ Car legend Bobby Rahal.

Rahal had to hold off Pagenaud under cool and sunny conditions in the 30-minute afternoon qualifying session.

Yesterday, Pagenuad secured the provisional pole by leading the opening round of qualifying before the rains came and drenched the track.

The Team Australia rookie was on his game again today, posting a quick time of 1:04.848, but fell just under two tenths of a second short of equalling Rahal's time.

Pagenaud will join Rahal on the front row in tomorrow's race, marking the third time in the first four races that the 22-year-old native of Montmorillon, France has qualified among the top two this season.

Pagenaud's young Australian team mate James Davison improved considerably today and moved from 21st to 18th on the grid.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--.

SIMON PAGENAUD - # 15 TEAM AUSTRALIA

"We decided, Chris (Yanchar) my engineer and the whole Team Australia crew, to do a couple changes, obviously we thought it was right, but my car was a little too pointy to drive and I had some difficulty to keep it on the good line," said Pagenaud.

"I was expecting to do better, but it's always good to be on the front row again. The race will be long, so I will have plenty of time to do well and Team Australia will work hard tonight to give me the best car ever."

JAMES DAVISON - # 5 TEAM AUSTRALIA

"Today was disappointing, but a lot better than yesterday's qualifying session," said Davison.

"I'm starting two thirds of the way through in the grid. Again, the times are so close, I'm really trying my best, but it's so close that split seconds are just going to get you up to the top ten, and that's it's only half a second away from my time.

"On the upside I've improved from the first qualifying which couldn't have been any worse. I need to make some improvements to the car, because I don't feel completely comfortable, it doesn't suit my driving style relative to Simon's.

"I really enjoy this track; this series is just unbelievable it blows so many junior formulas away in how competitive it is. Overall, I just need to keep moving forward and focus on a successful race for tomorrow."

DERRICK WALKER -- CO-OWNER TEAM AUSTRALIA

"Portland is an interesting track, it's a challenging track both for car and driver, it requires a well balanced car and a driving technique that typically comes easier for drivers with experience," said Walker.

"James is still on that steep learning curve and quite frankly he needs more laps.

"Supreme effort on part of the team and Simon in trying to get every last tenth of a second out of it.

"I look forward to the race tomorrow and to see how our race setup compares over a longer run."

CRAIG GORE -- CO-OWNER TEAM AUSTRALIA

"Simon just keeps pumping out the numbers and I am sure that elusive pole will come," said Gore.

"He knows there is a big reward at the end of this championship if he keeps it all together.

"James keeps improving step by step and seems to get something out of every lap he does in the car. I think people forget how little racing James has actually done in any sort of car."

-www.teamaustraliamotorsport.com

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Bobby Rahal , James Davison , Simon Pagenaud