WILL POWER PUTS TEAM AUSTRALIA ON POLE POSITION IN EDMONTON Points Chase Tightens as Aussie Driver Sets a Track Record EDMONTON -- Will Power ( ...
WILL POWER PUTS TEAM AUSTRALIA ON POLE POSITION IN EDMONTON
Points Chase Tightens as Aussie Driver Sets a Track Record
EDMONTON -- Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) set the track record at Rexall Speedway at City Center Airport, but lost a front wing en route to earning his fourth career pole position. The sophomore sensation will start the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton at the point after lapping the 1.973-mile airport circuit in 58.403 seconds (121.617 mph) eclipsing the previous mark set by Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) last year. On his last lap of the session, Power pushed too hard and his off-track excursion snapped the front wing from his DP01, but he was able to continue and pulled into the pits without bringing out the red flag.
The front row features two of the contenders in the tight battle for the Series championship lead as Bourdais earned his second place starting spot on Friday. With his pole position, Power reclaimed sole possession of second place in the standings breaking his tie with Bourdais and closed to within one point of leader Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone.) Doornbos was only able to qualify 11th for the event.
The Saturday crowd of 60,132 saw a thrilling session as Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) nearly claimed the pole, but trailed Power's time by just seven-one-thousandths of a second. Rookie Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) matched his best qualifying effort of the season as he put his Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing entry fourth on the grid with a time of 58.485 seconds (121.447 mph). Rahal also started fourth at Cleveland another temporary airport circuit.
The third row will be anchored by PKV Racing rookie Neel Jani (#21 Red Bull-Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who's best lap of 58.762 seconds (120.874 mph) puts him just ahead of Dale Coyne Racing driver Bruno Junqueira (#19 Sonny's Bar-B-Q Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone). Junqueira earned only his third top-six start of the season but his second in as many races.
Team Australia rookie Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who along with his teammate Power lead the Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown standings will start eighth after a lap at 58.868 seconds (120.656 mph). Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pacific Coast Motorsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) earned the best start of his Champ Car career and will line up eighth.
Alex Tagliani (Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) will start ninth despite not being able to better his qualifying time from Friday. He will start alongside Dan Clarke (#4 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who earned his fourth top-10 start of the year.
After making contact with the wall during Friday's qualifying, Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay by Touch-Megaspiera Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) complained of back pain and was sent to the hospital for precautionary x-rays and was released. Because of ongoing pain, he received a MRI this afternoon which shows edema of two thoracic vertebra which implies subtle bone injury. He will be unable to compete this weekend and will be reevaluated by Dr. Trammel this week in Indianapolis.
The Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton will begin at 1:00 p.m. local (3:00 p.m. ET) on Sunday. The race can be seen live on ESPN in the United States and Global in Canada.
QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE STARTERS
Will Power: "We had the speed there all weekend in the Aussie Vineyards car. I just haven't been putting laps together. We haven't had a clear run. That was pretty much my first clear lap. And, yeah, we did what we needed to do."
Sebastien Bourdais: "A little frustrating obviously because the McDonald's team did a fantastic job and the car was great. But, you know, it's going to be a long day tomorrow and we'll see what happens."
Justin Wilson : "The CDW car was feeling good. I think, like everyone in the field, I was on a quicker lap and I caught Will (Power) in the last corner and lost some time, but that's how it goes sometimes."