CHAMP CAR PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT FROM LONG BEACH WITH SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, ORIOL SERVIA AND WILL POWER ERIC MAUK: All right, ladies and gentlemen, we'll go ahead and get started with our post-race press conference. We have our top ...
CHAMP CAR PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT FROM LONG BEACH WITH SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, ORIOL SERVIA AND WILL POWER
ERIC MAUK: All right, ladies and gentlemen, we'll go ahead and get started with our post-race press conference. We have our top three finishers from today's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, second round of the 2007 Champ Car World Series campaign. I've been instructed to turn things over to Mr. Harris before I get started. Michael Harris.
MICHAEL HARRIS: For those of you who don't know, this is Eric's last official act as the Champ Car PR team. I just want to, as the representative of the masses of media here, thank you for your years of service here. You do a great job. We'll tell you we'll miss you on this side though we'll see you on the other side.
ERIC MAUK: We have our top-three finishers today. We'll start with our third-place finisher, driver of the #5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone for Team Australia, Will Power. Will's third career podium, second in a row to start the season. He holds a 15-point lead in the championship. Will, before we talk about the overall day, talk about that last-lap pass to get you onto the podium.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I had 'push to pass' left. I got a really good exit. Yeah, I had a chance and I took it. It was a clean pass. No problem. Got round the corner. I must say, it felt like a more satisfying day than last week because it's such a hectic race for me. I made the mistake early in the race on the restart. I couldn't get first gear. I spent a lot of time, almost lost two spots. From then on, I was just fighting, sitting behind Tag, then Justin Wilson.
I had the car to do it. We had a really quick car. It's so hard to pass around here. I sat behind and saved fuel. It didn't matter in the end because we had a yellow stop anyway. So for me it was a busy day sitting behind cars. It was a good result in the end, good points, another podium. We can look forward to the next race.
ERIC MAUK: How important was it to you to come out and end up on the podium, run well today, given how well you ran last weekend?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it's important to be just consistently quick. And that's what we are. We've been quick in testing. We've been quick in every session. You know, we have this car sorted out. We're also learning new things all the time. I think we're going to be strong all season. But I think other people are going to catch up, some of these rookies from Formula One are going to come on pretty strong, too, towards the end of the year or halfway through the year. I think it's going to be a really good, competitive championship.
ERIC MAUK: Congratulations, good run today. The runner-up in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, driver of the #3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Forsythe Championship Racing, Oriol Servia. Oriol led seven laps on the day, earned his 14th career podium. Oriol, unbelievable run, unbelievable day for you. Tell us a little how it feels to end up here after what you've been here through this week.
ORIOL SERVIA: Well, as you can only imagine, I wasn't expecting to be here. I wanted, but I wasn't expecting to be here when I came on Friday. So just very happy. You know, I mean, I was given the opportunity. And I knew that the car was going to be good and the team was going to do a good job. I knew that if I wasn't too rusty, I could do a good job, too. So, you know, I took the opportunity.
First I want to thank the whole Forsythe team and especially Mr. Forsythe for trusting that I could do the job. Then, as I said earlier, I want to really thank the fans because, you know, in Vegas was very hard for me just to walk around without a ride. And every step in the paddock, I would find a fan that would come to me and just give me their support. And same happened here on Friday. So that kept my, you know, energy and motivation up. And I want to thank them very much.
I want to thank Mr. da Matta for showing up today and throwing the green flag, who obviously gave me a lucky charm and I'm going to have to ask him to come to every race and do the same now (laughter). But I'm sure he won't agree because I'm sure he want to be on the grid soon. Not much else. Just very happy. Just, you know, obviously I hope Paul gets back soon. I hope I find another ride. But I hope he gets back soon. He's a good friend. And I'm, you know -- you always feel bad when a driver gets hurt, and especially him.
ERIC MAUK: You pitted on lap 10 after Dominguez crashed. When the first set of stops cycled through after Sebastien had a big lead, cycled through, you found yourself up front. At what point did you know, Okay, I've made up those spots and I've got a chance to be up here the rest of the day?
ORIOL SERVIA: Well, to be honest, I didn't really know much. I knew I was out of sequence and I knew I was pushing hard at that time of the race. But I was on my own so I didn't really know if I was making much time or not. I didn't know what the lap times were.
You know, at Forsythe, they don't use too much the pit board. They go a lot with the radio. My volume was very low. I couldn't hear. Sorry, Neil Micklewright, but I couldn't hear one word of his advice today (laughter). So I didn't really know, you know, till we went on the restart and I just find myself behind Sebastien, then I realized I was second.
ERIC MAUK: The winner of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for the third consecutive year, the three-time defending champion of the Champ Car World Series, driver of the #1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, Sebastien Bourdais. It's his 24th career win. Moves him into a tie with Bobby Rahal for 12th on the all-time win list. His 36th career podium in just 61 Champ Car starts. He's the first driver to win three consecutive Long Beach Grand Prix since Al Unser, Jr. did it from '89 to '91. He led 58 laps on the day. That also moves him head of 'The Gasman' Tom Sneva for 16th on the all-time laps-led list for Champ Car. Sebastien, you rebounded strong this weekend. How does it feel to come out and put one on top of the board?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It feels really good for the whole McDonald's team. They worked their tails off all winter and I really, really couldn't feel any worse than what I was feeling after Vegas, making all these mistakes. And I think we worked a little bit on the car to make me a little more comfortable and we got things figured out.
I can't thank the team hard enough for what they've done because, again, they went to bed way past midnight and woke up at 4 this morning and they were there at the track to get the cars ready. It's just unbelievable how much effort they put into it. It's really definitely a team effort that's been rewarded today and I really enjoyed the ride.
ERIC MAUK: Take us through that last lap restart.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I guess all the restarts today were a little tricky. First we were kind of getting the word late. Tony was trying to restart the race as early as possible. But also because of the cool temperatures, every time you would slow down, the restarts -- at the restart, the car was sliding all over the place, and especially at the hairpin. So it was a little bit of a struggle. I think Oriol nearly collected me when I slowed down to get the car to turn.
ORIOL SERVIA: I tried (laughter).
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: That's what it looked like. But I knew if I could just get the car to turn and get a good launch of the hairpin, I was safe. But it didn't prove that easy. I'm just glad everything turned out all right and we just kind of turned things around a little bit.
ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. Great run today. Unofficially top five in points, Will is the points leader, he has a 15-point lead over Alex Tagliani. Will has 59 points, Alex Tagliani second with 44, Sebastien moves into third with 40, Bruno Junqueira fourth with 36, and Robert Doornbos is fifth with 35. Again we go racing next week at Reliant Park in Houston, the Grand Prix of Houston, race three of the 2007 season. We'll take questions from the media.
Q: Oriol, when you got out of the car, first comment you made was something to the effect of, I keep proving myself. I wish it wasn't that way. How tough is it - obviously very tough - to have the performances you've had in the past and not be able to find a regular ride?
ORIOL SERVIA: Well, I don't know what else to add to your words, you know. Yeah, it is a little frustrating, especially, you know, I feel -- you know, I used the most of every opportunity I had in these seven seasons I've been in Champ Car. So as a driver you feel frustrated when you look, you know, 10 years back and you see drivers were making all those millions (laughter). You know, but --
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: You're not talking about me, are you (laughter)?
ORIOL SERVIA: But, you know, it is what it is. And, lucky for me, you know, I have a good family behind, you know, that supports me, good friends. And, as I said, the fans out there that, you know, just honestly I thought it was going to be a lot tougher. I was talking to Vasser I think it was Friday or Saturday in Vegas. I told him, Hey, I should be feeling a lot worse. And I have a feeling that something good will happen. I was telling him, you know. And I may sound stupid, but I guess I better feel this way.
There's not much more I can say. I'm just going to try to do the best I can and it will be whatever it will be.
Q: Sebastien, your car was clearly the class of the field. So much faster than everybody else. Yet everyone is supposed to have the same equipment. What do you think was the difference?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I don't know. It doesn't take much, you know. These cars are very sensitive. Very little differences make a huge impact on how the car behaves on the track. I think we really took it small step by small steps, and it really paid off this weekend. We got ourselves together and didn't panic after Vegas, which was really crucial because many teams could have completely blown up and, you know, fell apart, and we didn't. So I'm just really glad that we stayed together and got it done here again.
Q: Oriol, has Gerry said anything about being in the car next week or when Paul comes back? Anything at all about that?
ORIOL SERVIA: Not to me. I think he told Robin Miller that if I win at Houston, maybe I can keep the ride.
Q: Oriol, you started 14th and you finished 2nd. What did you have for breakfast?
ORIOL SERVIA: Breakfast in I didn't have McDonald's (laughter). I had nothing special.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Easy, easy (laughter).
ORIOL SERVIA: I had nothing special. Maybe I had something special Thursday night, but I cannot really say it.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: There's a pretty good story about that because Cristiano came to see me and he was like Oriol was just ready to go party and everything. He said, You never know, might something happen. And the next morning he's in the car. So actually it was a good thing he didn't go party all night.
ORIOL SERVIA: I didn't say that (laughter).
Continued in part 2