Justin Wilson to Start Second in Assen after Difficult Final Qualifying Considering his fantastic qualifying session in the wet on Friday, Justin Wilson and his ...
Justin Wilson to Start Second in Assen after Difficult Final Qualifying
Considering his fantastic qualifying session in the wet on Friday, Justin Wilson and his #9/CDW crew arrived at the TT Circuit Assen on Saturday morning to more rain and dark clouds that actually brought smiles to their faces. Knowing they had a car that could put them at the top of the running order, if the weather continued to be less-than-ideal, put everyone in the garage at ease. As Saturday's practice session wore on, the rain stopped and the clouds parted, giving way to a picturesque Dutch afternoon sky. The track began to dry out and as the CDW team switched from the Bridgestone Potenza rain tires to Potenza Black sidewall racing slicks, the lap times for the Champ Car field dropped quickly and Justin's #9/CDW/Cosworth/DP01 car began to develop severe understeer that he fought for the remaining 15 minutes of the session, taking the final position of seventh at the close of the practice session.
In the two hours between the morning practice and final qualifying, the sun shone brightly, warming the track to temperatures that had not been seen at any time during Friday. The understeer persisted in the warm weather and despite all attempts to minimize the condition, it continued through Justin's first qualifying stint of seven laps around the circuit. Switching to the softer, alternate Bridgestone Potenza Red tires relieved the #9/CDW machine of many of its handling woes, but as the rest of the field continued improving on their laptimes, Justin found himself falling further down the grid. His best lap time of 1:19.710s (127.813 mph) at the end of the qualifying session placed him ninth on the timesheet. Sebastien Bourdais took the Pole Position with a lap of 1:18.765; Tristan Gommendy was second quickest in the session; however by virtue of his provisional pole on Friday, Justin will start from the second spot on the grid for Sunday's Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix.
"I'm very disappointed with our lack of pace today", said Justin. "We just couldn't quite work it out in qualifying and had a few problems. A rear tire delaminated during our second stint, but I'm not sure if that was part of our problem or not. We're fortunate that we got the front row slot from yesterday and now we've got to concentrate on making a good race car."
Justin and the #9/CDW/RuSPORT team have a long night ahead of them as they work to find a more competitive set-up for Sunday's race. More than anything this weekend, the ever-changing weather has been a factor and may introduce some exciting elements to Sunday's race.
The Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix begins at 1:00pm (local time) on Sunday and will be broadcast live at 7:00am (EST) on ESPN Classic.