CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Team Australia Saturday report

PAGENAUD NARROWLY MISSES POLE WHILE POWER QUALIFIES THIRD IN CLEVELAND Team Australia has narrowly missed its third pole position for the season as drivers Simon Pagenaud and Will Power qualified second and third respectively for the Champ ...

PAGENAUD NARROWLY MISSES POLE WHILE POWER QUALIFIES THIRD IN CLEVELAND

Team Australia has narrowly missed its third pole position for the season as drivers Simon Pagenaud and Will Power qualified second and third respectively for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland in Ohio today.

It was rookie Pagenaud that went closest to toppling Sebastien Bourdais for pole, with the Frenchman pushing his #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01 Champ Car to within 0.025 seconds of Bourdais' best time.

Pagenaud, who is being cheered on by parents Christian and Sylvie this weekend, set his best mark on the harder compound 'black' Bridgestone tyres.

The 2006 Atlantic Champion went for an even faster lap on the option 'red' tyres, only to be baulked by traffic around the 2.106-mile (3.389-kilometre) temporary airport course.

Power will start from third, a position he is quite comfortable with considering Cleveland's reputation for first corner incidents.

Power's best time in the #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01 was only one tenth of a second behind Bourdais' pole mark.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --

Will Power -- #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01

"I think we're in a pretty good position for the race because, as you've seen in past years, there's a lot of mayhem here at Cleveland," said Power.

"I had a look at last year's race. I count every single person, every driver in the whole field made a mistake, spun or ran off, got hit off, whatever.

"I think it's going to be pretty mixed up tomorrow. I think it will be a lot of fun for the fans."

Simon Pagenaud -- #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01

"I think it's going to be quite spectacular to start from the front row tomorrow," said Pagenaud.

"I'm just very proud about what Team Australia did today. We were struggling a little bit in the morning. Went back to the truck and I worked quite hard with my engineer.

"I'm very happy because we had very good discussion, very good communication together. We went back on track this afternoon and the car was just perfect.

"Went back to pit lane and I said 'that's the best car I ever had. We can do it. Put black tires on.'

"I did quite a decent lap. It could have been a little bit better. But, you know, I got some traffic. But I'm very happy about what we did. After that, we had the red flag.

"I put red tyres on before. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to see what was doing the red yres. It looked like we could have gone quicker. We know we have a very good race car.

"I think we're going to be up there tomorrow. We're going to try to do a good strategy, save fuel. We'll see where we end up, but I'm sure we'll be up there."

Derrick Walker -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"This is a tremendous job and a good team effort, we stayed with the pace throughout the day," said Walker.

"We were so close to the pole position, it was within a blink of an eye. The team keeps getting stronger and stronger as the season goes on.

"Great effort and great driving for both of the drivers and the team did a good job."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"A great effort by the entire team today in Cleveland," said Gore.

"Simon is doing an outstanding job and I know that he is capable of continuing to challenge the front runners.

"We are showing the strength of the Team Australia operation by getting both our Aussie Vineyards car up there with Sebastien to challenge for the win tomorrow.

"Will is going to be looking to get the championship lead back and Simon is on the verge of a great result. We are all looking forward to seeing how the green and gold cars go in tomorrow's race."

-credit: team aus

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sébastien Bourdais , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud