CHAMPCAR/CART: Assen: Series Friday report

WET WILSON CLAIMS PROVISIONAL POLE IN HOLLAND British Driver Locks himself onto the Front Row for Sunday's Race Asssen, Netherlands (August 31, 2007) -- The first round of qualifying for the Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix of Holland was a ...

British Driver Locks himself onto the Front Row for Sunday's Race

Asssen, Netherlands (August 31, 2007) -- The first round of qualifying for the Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix of Holland was a true test of skill and strategy as the track went from wet to drying, back to wet, then back to drying as the Dutch weather wreaked havoc on today's qualifying. The rain started to fall during the practice session just before the start of provisional qualifying, sending all the teams to pit lane for treaded Bridgestone Potenza rain tires and small tweaks to their cars' setup.

As the rain fell, Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was the fastest on the track, showing once again his prowess in the wet conditions. Wilson spent most of the qualifying session battling with Frenchman Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), who was able to turn quick laps as the rain stopped and the track began to dry. Pagenaud looked to be on his way to his best starting position in Champ Car, holding the fastest time when the rain started to fall again with just 10 minutes remaining. Fortunately for the rest of the field, the rain began to relent and the TT Assen Circuit dries quickly, giving everyone a final chance to grab the provisional pole.

It was Wilson, who strung together two consecutive fast laps to claim the fastest time, followed by Pagenaud. Wilson's wet weather lap of 1 minute 30.656 seconds was just over a second off the Assen circuit's all-time record set by a 2006 Champ Car earlier this month. Young American Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was third fastest.

Three drivers were penalized during the session, Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) spun early bringing out the red flag, while Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay By Touch-MegaSpirea Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) both lost their fastest lap for not acknowledging the checkered flag at the end of the session. With the penalty, Gommendy dropped from third to fourth in the final running order while Power dropped from seventh to eighth.

Spaniard Oriol Servia (#7 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was fifth fastest today with Series points leader Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) sitting sixth. Bourdais only ran six laps during the wet session opting to save his tires in case of rain tomorrow or during the race on Sunday.

Dutchman Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was able to muster a seventh best effort today in front of his home fans. During the brief dry time in the middle of the session, Doornbos gambled by bolting on the slick Bridgestone Potenza tires only to have to come in one lap later because the rain started to fall again.

Canadians Alex Tagliani (#8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Paul Tracy were ninth and tenth respectively.

In the race for the Phanos European Team Cup, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, extended their lead by half-a-point following the performance of Rahal and Bourdais. Holding down the second spot is the Team Australia duo of Will Power and Simon Pagenaud.

Final qualifying for the Bavaria Beer Champ Car Grand Prix of Holland Presented by Audi, Gant, Hertz, Pioneer and Jumbo will begin at 2:00 p.m. local time (8:00 a.m. ET) on Saturday with the Race scheduled for Sunday, September 2 at 1 p.m. local time (7 a.m. ET) which can be seen live in Europe on Eurosport 2 and in the United States on ESPN Classic. Fans can also follow all of the action via the official website of the Champ Car World Series,


Justin Wilson: "The #9 CDW car was fantastic. I've got to thank the whole team. They've worked hard this weekend and it's nice to be quick in the wet. We weren't quite as quick in the dry, but we felt we were in with a shout this weekend. So when it started to rain I thought 'this should be good'."

Simon Pagenaud: ""We had a fantastic car from the beginning to the end but it just was that I got blocked in the last two laps. I couldn't make a lap at the end. It was a bit of a shame because Team Australia gave me a really good car and I can't thank them enough.

Graham Rahal: "It's always good to be up front. If it were dry we could have had a better qualifying session. Our Medi|Zone car was definitely very good in the dry but unfortunately it rained. We did show that we had the pace in the rain but obviously we would prefer it to be dry."

-credit: ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Graham Rahal , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud