An interview with Bruno Junqueira Scott Dixon Cristiano da Matta Pat 1 of 2 What follows is the press conference of the top-three press conference following Sunday's CART FedEx Championship Series Shell Grand Prix of Denver. Due to minor audio...
An interview with
Cristiano da Matta
Pat 1 of 2
What follows is the press conference of the top-three press conference following Sunday's CART FedEx Championship Series Shell Grand Prix of Denver. Due to minor audio troubles, we join the press conference after the opening introductions by CART Senior Manager of Communications Merrill Cain.
Cristiano da Matta: Just have to thank them for that, but performance here wasn't, of course, the way we wanted, but I'm pleased with third place. We have just to get our heads up because we did something I think between Friday and Saturday, because on Friday I could see that we were running in good shape. Then for Saturday we were running a little bit weaker, and then today we were a little better, but not as up to speed as Bruno (Junqueira) and Scott (Dixon). But I'm very pleased with third place. I think it's very important to get 14 points at this stage of the Championship, and we'll just have to see what we did wrong this weekend, and I'm not complaining. Right? Trying to see really what we can do to get our performance back to the way it was the last races.
Merrill Cain: Third isn't bad. Third isn't bad.
Cristiano da Matta: No, no. I'm very happy. I'm very happy. Just it's not time to relax. That's why I mentioned that. Just have to see what we did this weekend that we weren't up to speed with everybody else as we usually are.
Merrill Cain: Thanks, Cristiano. We're joined now by the Shell Grand Prix Denver Champion Bruno Junqueira driving the #4 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone. He wins his second race this season, and third of his career. He made all 100 laps to claim the victory and he vaulted into second place in the Championship and made up some ground on Cristiano earning 22 of the 23 available points this weekend to boost his total to 123 points in the season. This is the second road course win of his career following last year's win in Road America. Bruno, excellent effort from you today. You go wire to wire. Talk about your performance, and the last few laps were pretty exciting.
Bruno Junqueira: Yeah. I think from the start today when we qualified the team gave me a very good car. I was able to start from the pole. We worked very hard to get the consistent car for the race, and when they started the race, I could put some really fast laps with cold tires. I run 1:03.0 in my first lap of the race. That was really good. And I could open the gap to Adrian (Fernandez). Then I kind of slowed down a little bit and tried to save the car, save the engine and save the tires, the brakes, and that's what I did for the whole race. I was trying to keep the concentration and make no mistakes on the race track. And I was really surprised when the yellow flag in the end, and then when Scott came up behind me. When the race started, I pushed very hard on the first lap. On the second lap I was tired a little bit. Then I made a mistake on turn one, and I almost crashed right there, the only mistake of the race. Then I decided to slow down and let Scott catch me because I didn't want to make another mistake. Make sure that I would be in there really fast to not give any chances for Scott to pass in turn five. And that's what I did on the last three laps.
Merrill Cain: Congratulations, Bruno. Great effort. Unofficially, now, we'll run down the top five in the point standings as they stand after 14 complete rounds of the CART FedEx Championship Series. Cristiano da Matta, as we said, still leads 175 points. Bruno moves into second place with 123 points, Dario Franchitti in third with 106 points on the year. Patrick Carpentier in fourth with 101, and Christian Fittipaldi rounds out the top five with 98 points on the season. Couple other quick notes before we open it up for questions here, it is the first time that Target Chip Ganassi cars have finished one-two since Houston in 2000. The winner of that race was Jimmy Vasser, followed by Juan Montoya. It's also the third time this season that Toyota has led a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium.
Q: Hey, Scott, the two best results from Ganassi. Are you surprised it's taken this long to make the podium?
Scott Dixon: I think, you know, we've had lots of opportunities to where we could have finished this car out, plenty of times. We've had a lot of mechanical failures. We haven't qualified as well as we would have liked, but even in the places that we had we haven't finished. That's been a bit of a problem. Today we just tried to save the car. We took a lot of the traction control off and just make sure we're going to make it to the end of the race.
Q: Bruno, you're making life difficult for the people back in Belo Horizonte. Can you talk a little bit about the title chase and also maybe a comment from Cristiano?
Bruno Junqueira: When Cristiano placed in the Championship in the second, I think people there must be happy, and I hope they are. But Cristiano is making it very difficult, and unfortunately that's by scoring points and open a big gap for me, and this time I won the race, but he also finished third. He is always being very persistent. Then it's kind of difficult I think points. Still five races to go and still lots of points, but I will work hard. I think anything is possible. And then maybe he will not finish, not finish. Not to decide another Championship that I won, I think when you finish is when the guy in second can't catch you anymore. Then I will -- until I have a chance, I'll work hard to try to get clear with him and maybe catch him.
Q: Can't get rid of this guy, Bruno. He even tried to tip you over on the podium as we saw.
Bruno Junqueira: He started it. He started it, and he said okay. Not didn't see you anymore. I saw him in the pit stop. I said okay. Then he finished third. I said, ah. Come on. Give me a break. You know. Anyway, I'm quite happy. As I said, I can't complain. Last year I had so much difficulty here, and it is already my second win. Motegi and here. All the pleasures and on the second the Championship, I think. I'm doing good in the year and I can't complain. I think I have to keep working, Team Target will have to keep working, getting ready for the next race in Rockingham. That's going to be good. And let's see, I have to try my best, and what's going to happen there just God knows.
Top three press conference, part II