An interview with: SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS JUSTIN WILSON GRAHAM RAHAL WILL POWER SIMON PAGENAUD THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our press conference following the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton. We're going to start today with...
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our press conference following the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton. We're going to start today with our Canadian Triple Crown winners, the Team Australia duo of Will Power and Simon Pagenaud.
Simon, you went out there, your highest finish was third, but never finished worse than fourth here in the Triple Crown. How was it to run here in Canada?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Obviously, Canada is a great country. I really love coming here. They have great racetracks, especially Edmonton. But it's a torture, let me tell you (laughter). No, it's very fun to come over here. Again, we had a very good attendance. It was really crowded. It's very enjoyable for us driver. I want to thanks all the fans for that.
The Triple Crown is a great thing because it involve a little bit more the Canadian fan, and I think that's a great move from Champ Car. I've been thinking about it's such a good championship and I'm also glad to be able to win this championship with Will. We have been so far the strongest combination since the beginning of the year, and it's great. You know, we are working together. I just want to say thanks to Craig Gore and Derrick Walker. The Aussie Vineyards team has been so, so strong since a couple of races.
THE MODERATOR: Will, today just wasn't your day. At both Mont-Tremblant and Toronto races you had podium finishes which allowed Team Australia to have a big enough lead to be able to survive something like what happened today.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, up until this point, Canada has been very friendly to us. Yeah, it's a great country. All the tracks are awesome and the fans are very enthusiastic. Massive crowds. You know, so it's a very good thing that Champ Car's done, to have this championship. Makes it a lot more interesting for everyone.
But, yeah, you know, it's a bittersweet day for me especially because I've obviously lost a lot of points to Sebastien. You know, I had a major part break in the steering. So in a way it was lucky I pulled in because now looking at it, it could have been a massive accident.
But, yeah, very happy to win the Triple Crown. Simon has been extremely consistent. Up until this point so have I. So it's very good for Team Australia.
THE MODERATOR: Now we'll open it up to questions from the media.
Q: Could you explain how your car behaved?
WILL POWER: It was just right-handed, the steering would lock, and it would get stuck there. It just became too dangerous. Now seeing the part that they pulled, the bits, it was -- I was lucky the steering just didn't break and have a massive accident. So it was good that we stopped really because it could have been much worse and someone could have got hurt.
So, yeah, very unfortunate. You know, it's an unusual thing to break really, so we're not really sure what happened there.
Q: Did you feel it in a particular curb or a heavy jolt?
WILL POWER: It might have been yesterday in qualifying - maybe, you know. But it's hard to say. Just looking at the part that broke, it's not as strong as it probably should be. Now I'm just seeing that it's actually hollow.
But, you know, it's hard to say. We don't know why it cracked. You know, obviously we're going to look into it a bit deeper. But, you know, I think all the teams should check that part, it should be let known what it is and how it cracked and everything because it could cause a pretty big accident. Losing your steering at this speeds is, you know, something bad could happen.
Q: Will talk about how close the points race. What will it take to get back into it?
WILL POWER: You know, today has given Sebastien a real comfort zone, and he works very well when he's comfortable like that. He's got, you know, a 30-point gap now or something like that, which is almost a whole race win. It makes it tougher on us.
But, you know, you can just see anything can happen in these races. He just has to have one DNF and we have to have a good weekend and it's all back together again. Really it closes up the fight for second place at the moment. It's pretty tight there. I think it goes all the way back to fifth place or something.
So, yeah, just have to say it was a disappointing weekend. Had to pull right out of the race because it's not like a DNF like Sebastien had last week where only eight cars finished, it's everyone basically finished, bar two, so we lose a lot of points in that.
Q: Will when did your steering problems start?
WILL POWER: Yeah, pretty much after the pit stop. I came out of the pits and suddenly lost seven seconds to Rahal. It started binding up then. You know, it just became so dangerous. I went into 13 when Simon was behind me, and he thought I was going to hit the wall. I thought, too. I just could not turn the steering wheel. It just absolutely locked up.
So, you know, I had no choice.
Q: What caused you to loose your footing on the track early on?
WILL POWER: That was, yeah -- I went on red tires and actually the rear tires went off a little bit. We sort of misjudged that. We should have gone a lap longer, as well, but we had cars coming out in front of us. Yeah, it got a little loose struggling with the car. I'm not sure whether the steering -- you know, I mean, yeah, it was -- I'm not sure whether the steering had anything to do with that.
Q: Simon did you know what happed to Will's Car? Were you warned?
SIMON PAGENAUD: No. I just saw that Will had a problem because he honestly went straight in turn 13, which is almost flat. I don't know the speed over there, but it's like more than 150 I think, miles per hour, and I saw him going straight. I'm like, Oh, what's happening? I saw he didn't do a mistake. So, yeah, I knew that he had a problem on the car, but I didn't think about it. I just, you know, carry on.
Q: What happened on the start?
WILL POWER: It was the paint. I said it all along. They wouldn't let me look at the grid before I made the choice. I went out and had a look this morning. I just said, Good chance we're going to lose the start.
In a funny way, it was bad to be on pole position, but we got a point for it. So next year they need to look at that because what's the use of getting pole if you know you're going to lose it because of the position of the grid?
Q: Sebastien took the outside line. Was that a consideration?
WILL POWER: Yeah, they wouldn't allow me to look at it. I asked in the meeting, Can I have a look? They said, No, make the choice now. I said, The obvious choice is the inside. That's it. That was the choice. Can't do anything about it.
Q: Simon, you are getting better and better, what do you attribute that to?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, I mean, especially in qualifying, I feel very confident with the new tires, reds or blacks. It's always very -- pretty good for me in qualifying. I'm working really well with Mike Pawlowski, my engineer. He's a very good listener, so we get the car right very often. Unfortunately yesterday we didn't have a clear run, we were not able to put a decent lap.
But, you know, I mean, overall, when you look at qualifying, it was really good. And the race, at the end, all the results was very consistent. We just need to do a little bit better now to get a podium.
But, you know, as I said last year, I mean, how did I won the championship? I just have been so consistent. You know, championship is made in a way that if you finish consistently in the top five, you have a good chance for the championship. But, of course, it's better to win and I want to win. So I will try my best. But at the moment I still need to find a little bit more speed and a little bit better fuel mileage.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys. Congratulations on winning the first Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown.
We have the top two finishers from the Grand Prix of Edmonton. We'll start with Justin Wilson, who earned his third podium of the season and his fifth top-five finish in the last five races.
Justin, you're slowly making your way up in the points. Right now you're nine points out of second. What did a good run mean to you today?
JUSTIN WILSON: Obviously it means a lot to close up on the championship. Unfortunately I think Sebastien's pulled away from me slightly. But generally speaking, like you say, moved up on second is good. Just pleased to get a good run in.
I felt it was a strong track for everyone on the RSPORTS team. You know, it showed again this year that we know what it takes to go quick around here.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Justin.
We have Sebastien Bourdais, who earned his 27th career win, which moves him 20 points ahead of Robert Doornbos, who is second in the championship points standings.
Sebastien, where it looked like you made up the most ground was there under the green flag pit stops. Looks like the McDonald's team gave you a good pit stop and you had a really good last two laps.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, it was a fun race. It was tough, as usual. It's a place, like I said, it beats you up, drags you down to your knees, but when you can pull it off, it feels really good. I think everybody was tired towards the end. The car gets really tough to drive. But the McDonald's car was fast, and that's really all that matters. And we pulled it off.
You know, I really thought we had lost the win when that incident happened in the pits on the first stop, Katherine was just coming into the pits. We were ready to leave. We lost probably three seconds or something like that, and that was enough to go back down to third place.
You know, I think the team -- the team had a pretty good idea that we were actually going to make it quite a bit further on fuel than the rest of the guys. They were confident, and they told me, you know, Just keep plugging away, it's not over. And it worked out.
You know, we went two laps further than Will and one lap further than Justin, and that was all we needed really. I was really, really happy that we could do that. It was a good performance on the whole team. And then after that they did an awesome job on green or yellow pit stop, they pulled it off, you know, and they made it stick. That's what it's really all about, you know. I mean, this series, you win as a team and you lose as a team. But today was a great weekend again for us.
Continued in part 2