McDONALD'S DRIVER BOURDAIS ON PROVISIONAL POLE FOR THE WEST EDMONTON MALL GRAND PRIX PRESENTED BY THE BRICK; JUNQUEIRA THIRD IN HIS DEBUT HERE Sebastien Bourdais, No. 1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "We came here with a completely...
McDONALD'S DRIVER BOURDAIS ON PROVISIONAL POLE FOR THE WEST EDMONTON MALL GRAND PRIX PRESENTED BY THE BRICK; JUNQUEIRA THIRD IN HIS DEBUT HERE
Sebastien Bourdais, No. 1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "We came here with a completely different setup on the McDonald's car from last year and so far it's working pretty well. I think it was a pretty big surprise to be able to bring the cars first and third fastest in the qualifying. Last year obviously the team struggled quite a bit with the speed. The Newman/Haas team did a pretty good effort to try and come up with something different, which we did. It's not ideal yet, but we're still working on a few different changes. I think we'll get it right; it's just a matter of trying to get some testing. Obviously, this morning was a pretty short session with all the red flags. We didn't make as much progress as we would have liked to. In the end, we're pretty happy with the way things went in this qualifying session. It's good to get this point and this front row start. We'll try and get it better to keep A.J. behind us. It's always a fundamental thing. You need to start to the front if you want to ease your day a little bit for Sunday. It's one of the nicest things of the Friday. There's only one spot that you really want. The rest you know you'll have to do it again all over next day on Saturday. No, I think it's perfect the way it played out, especially with A.J. making a mistake like that. Maybe he's going to break a little bit his momentum. We could use some of that, for sure. But, you know, I'm sure he'll be back tomorrow. We'll have a tough fight in our hands. We're not shooting for starting second; we're trying to get the pole.
"Well, I think the Bridgestone tires are always good, even if they're only standards. But the fact that Paul got stuck in traffic and didn't get pole using the reds is a good thing for us. We'll have two sets tomorrow. We'll try and get the best out of it. The team did a very good job at putting me in clean air. There was only Nelson (Philippe) that was in front of me. He had some time to slow down. Let him completely go, I was free of traffic. That was perfect. I had a lot of clean laps, like three or four in the end. I kept on clicking the same lap times, but in completely different fashion. I'm pretty sure there's some good lap time in the car. As Paul said, it was extremely hard and very unforgiving. I made a few different mistakes. So far, you know, I think the car is just a little too hard to drive to really get the best out of it. That's what we'll focus on tomorrow, trying to get it a little closer and a little easier to drive, because otherwise it's going to be a real struggle for the race.
"I don't think it's (the heat) going to play a big factor. The track is very hard and bumpy. But the heat, you know, is not going to be anything terrible. We've raced in much warmer places than that in the end. It's not humid, so I don't think it's going to be extremely hot. It goes pretty fast, so you get quite a bit of air inside the car. The outside temperature doesn't really affect."
Bruno Junqueira, No. 2 Hole in the Wall Camps Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "It's a very nice track, very fast, very hard to drive. I like it a lot. This is I think one of the toughest tracks that I ever drove in my life, and funnest. It's difficult because there's just high-speed corners, so it's very easy to spin, to go off track, as you can see during the practice session, qualifying session. It is really fast; I like it. When we have the car on the track, it's a lot of fun. And it's going to be very physical to drive, as well. It's going to be the most difficult as well. It's very nice, I like it a lot.
"For me all the reds in the morning practice were hard because I didn't know the track, so I had even less laps. I also had a problem with the engine early on. But what I think is this track is like an oval. The corner is so fast that you do some corners at the speed you do in an oval. As Tracy said, it's very unforgiving. You cannot have oversteer because if the rear end steps out, that's it, you lose. It's unbelievable that this track has so many really fast corners. It's like driving an oval but also turning right and left all the time.
(On last lap that was third fastest:) "It was a good lap. I got some traffic early on the last outing, then I did a lap, then had traffic again. I slowed down. I said I had the last lap to do it. My car was very difficult to drive, very much on the limit, oversteering on some corners, understeering on others but I knew I could get the good lap. I was P4 at the time and I said 'I can do a little bit better.' Being in the top three is great especially for my first time on the track. I picked up the track quite fast, although is a difficult track. After all my years racing in Formula 3000, I had to learn the track pretty fast and I had that ability. It's very nice to be on top three on the first day to see this track.
"The most difficult here is the track. It doesn't matter if it's hot or cold. Although it's not as hot as in Miami but it's going to be an extra factor for the race. I think maybe it will be 20% more difficult."