CHAMP CAR PRE-RACE QUOTES GRAND PRIX OF CLEVELAND PRESENTED BY US BANK Sebastien Bourdais ...
CHAMP CAR PRE-RACE QUOTES
GRAND PRIX OF CLEVELAND PRESENTED BY US BANK
Sebastien Bourdais #1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone - "Cleveland has provided a challenge for us the past could of years. We had a very good car the first year and even since the McDonald's team has struggled there. I never have been as happy with the car as the first year. Last year was particularly frustrating but I think we made some nice improvements on bumpy tracks and hopefully it will turn the results around. Last year we really couldn't get it together. In qualifying we were third but couldn't better than that and in the race we just saved fuel, saved fuel. The yellows just caught us and left us hanging out with Alex (Tagliani) and we really never could get our race going after that. Because of the course, it is one of the toughest races of the season. It's physically difficult, really quick and really bumpy so you hold your breath all the time. It's a tough one; there's no rest in Cleveland. Last year the start was a typical Cleveland bonsai going through Turn 1 with everyone shooting from the same apex, six wide which was obviously a typical Cleveland thing but hopefully we can get something that makes a little bit more sense and everyone can get through the turn in one piece."
Justin Wilson #9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone - "Cleveland is a track that I really like. I've always enjoyed driving there, and I like the unique challenge of being on an airport circuit. It's fast, flowing and fun to drive, but it's quite technical. You need to understand what your car is looking for, and be able to work with your team and your engineer to get the balance you need and the feeling you like. The track is full of wide-open space, and it has very few reference points, so it's quite difficult to work out where you are and understand how wide the corner is and where you can go in each corner. So, it takes a little bit of time to adjust to that, and find your way around. It's quite a change in tempo from some of the street circuits we race on. I expect it to be a tough race. It should also be very competitive with Sebastien, Paul, A.J. and Cristiano. I think they're all going to be quick, and I hope that the CDW team can do a better job and come out on top."
A.J. Allmendinger #7 INDECK Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone -- "I really enjoy Cleveland. I enjoy it for the fans because the fans seem to love the race so much. It is really, besides Edmonton now on the schedule, it's really a completely different racetrack that we race on. For the fans, they can see the whole racetrack from anywhere in the seats. Really, it's just a fast, wide-open racetrack. I really enjoy those kind of tracks where you can kind of -- it really comes down to the driver at times really hanging it on the line to get that ultimate fast lap and be able to run consistent fast laps during the race. It's an absolute amazing track. Every time I go back to it, I it's kind of like that for all the drivers, you get lost on the first lap because it's so wide open and there's no markers on the racetrack to see. It is definitely a different racetrack than we go to in the series. I've really enjoyed it since day one when I showed up there in Barber Dodge."
Andrew Ranger #27 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone -- "We were quick in Cleveland last year, that's where I had my best qualifying result with a fourth place. It is a track that I like a lot, there is plenty of space and I have good memories from last year when I was fighting with Tagliani in the lead group. We have been improving since the beginning of the year and I have a good feeling that we will be competitive again in Cleveland."
Nelson Philippe #4 CTE Racing-HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone - "I have been looking forward to this race since last year when we raced here. In 2005, I was racing with an injured ankle and I just could not get completely up to speed so the Cleveland airport owes me one. Coming off a strong finish in Portland, I am pumped to be racing again and it is great to see the team so happy. I feel I am gelling very well with my engineer and I am able to get what I want from the car. Cleveland is the town of Rock N' Roll so I am ready to tear it up because I want to hold that guitar trophy at the end of the race on Sunday!"
Cristiano da Matta #10 RuSPORT Ford Cosworth / Lola / Bridgestone - "I have unfinished business in Cleveland. I love the track...it's on my top 3 list of favorite tracks. I got my first podium there in 2000, coming back from last place after being hit on a first corner incident. In 2002, I could have broken the most consecutive wins record there. I had won four in a row, and started from the pole at Cleveland. It was looking good, but my engine blew up while I was leading and running away from the field. In 2005, as I was again leading and pulling away from the field, I was collected by a lapped car. I've always been very fast there but still haven't won. It's time to fix this problem!"
Alex Tagliani #15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone -- "I love the Cleveland track. We finished fourth there last year and the Aussie Vineyards car was really quick there as well. I'm glad the race is this weekend because we can get right back in the car and fight for championship points. It will be great to get back on track and back to business. This weekend I hope to bring the team some happiness by getting on the podium."
Bruno Junqueira #2 Newman/Haas Racing Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone/Lola -- "I had good results the last two years I raced there with second and third place finishes; Newman/Haas has always performed well there. I missed racing there last year so I am looking forward to going back even more. It's a very exciting race because the track is very wide with a lot of passing in the race and the people in the grandstands can see everything. Turn 1 in Cleveland is always hard at the start. Almost every race there is a crash because it is very wide so there is always a Superman that wants to bonsai inside of everybody. When you are driving the car it is a very difficult moment but when you are watching, like I did last year, you just laugh waiting for the moves. After the season-opener where four cars including me, didn't make it past the first lap, I think people will understand that Turn 1 in Cleveland is not where the race winner is going to be decided. It's a long race and there are other opportunities to pass so I hope everyone will be conservative and there will be a good and clean start."
Dan Clarke #14 CTE Racing-HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone - "It's good to be going straight in to another race weekend. We had a strong race in Portland and we will be looking to build on this momentum in Cleveland. I will be jumping back in the car so quickly there is very little time to reflect on last weekend and I am just looking towards this next challenge. I have never raced at an airport, but I have seen from past years' race footage that it is quite a wide, fast track, which should suit us. No two race tracks are the same in this championship which is one of the great aspects of it for me and I'm going to enjoy flying round Burke Lakefront airport."
Will Power #5 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone - "I look very forward to Cleveland; this will be my first time to race at this track. Cleveland is a lot faster, and a lot bumpier circuit, which is good for me because I normally do well on faster tracks. My #5 Team Australia crew has put in a lot of effort to prepare my car for Cleveland. They all have lots of race experience and know a lot about the track which has been very helpful in preparing for the weekend. We were quick there last year, so I'm really confident that this weekend will be a successful one for us."
Charles Zwolsman #34 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone - "I like the track very much. I won both Atlantic races there last year. It took me some time to get up to speed because the track is so wide and you really need to take advantage of all the space you got around the track. In a Champ Car, it will be much faster so it will take some time again to get all the speed out the track but I am really looking forward to it."
Nicky Pastorelli #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone - "I do not know the Cleveland track, but I have been studying past data that Rocketsports has and have watched several tapes of on-board camera coverage, so I have a good feel of what to expect. It looks like it is going to be a challenging track and very fast, so I really look forward to trying it out for myself this weekend. We are moving in the right direction, having a pretty good qualifying position in Portland; it was just unfortunate what happened to us during the race. But I think we can continue to move forward with this positive momentum from the race last weekend in aim for good results this weekend in Cleveland. I hope we have a good race and I look forward to the weekend that is ahead!"
Tonis Kasemets #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone - "I am looking forward to going to Cleveland. Now that we (the Rocketsports team and I) have the first race behind us, we have better expectations on the future together. I got to know the team a little bit better in Portland and they got to learn more about me, so that is good and I believe our next race together will result in a better finish. I feel more comfortable in the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone car after having some good seat time in Portland and I feel that we can finish at least 2-3 position better than we did in our first race together. It should be a lot of fun and I can't wait!"