Wilson takes 3rd on grid as Philippe is unable to qualify Mexico City, Mexico (6 November 2004)--Mi-Jack Conquest Racing drivers Justin Wilson and Nelson Philippe experienced mixed fortunes in Saturday's final qualifying for Sunday's Gran ...
Wilson takes 3rd on grid as Philippe is unable to qualify
Mexico City, Mexico (6 November 2004)--Mi-Jack Conquest Racing drivers Justin Wilson and Nelson Philippe experienced mixed fortunes in Saturday's final qualifying for Sunday's Gran Premio Telmex-Tecate at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Wilson scored third on the grid, but Philippe was unable to qualify and improve his time from Friday when he overheated the clutch maneuvering to rejoin the track after a spin in the pre-qualifying practice session.
Wilson netted fourth on the provisional grid on Friday, and his Saturday fast lap time of 1:27.016 seconds around the 2.786-mile circuit allowed him to go one better and take the inside spot on the second row alongside series veteran Jimmy Vasser.
"I'm pretty happy," said Wilson. "We've been making progress all weekend, then in the warm-up session before qualifying, we were a long way off, and getting a bit concerned that we changed the setup only very slightly, but lost our way. Fortunately, we changed it back and the car worked well again and we were able to go out and set a time. I am very pleased, and the Mi-Jack Conquest team has done a fantastic job all weekend. We just keep playing it nice and cool and are taking small steps at a time."
Teammate Philippe, who himself has been making positive steps all weekend, posting the ninth quickest time in the morning practice session, will start the race from the nineteenth position. While he was disappointed not to get the chance to improve, he is no less confident looking towards Sunday's sixty-three lap event.
"It was unfortunate what happened, because we have improved our speed every session so far this weekend, and were looking for a competitive effort in the final qualifying," said Philippe. "The Mi-Jack Conquest team has done a great job this weekend, and I think that Justin's qualifying effort shows that. We know we have a good car, and we know we can pass, so we will focus on improving our position during the race, and hopefully we can get another top-ten finish to close out the season."
Team owner Eric Bachelart shared Philippe's disappointment that the session did not go better for the young rising star, but knows that he will continue to learn and improve and that he should have a competitive race on Sunday.
"It was a shame that Nelson had his spin and couldn't qualify this afternoon, as he had a good practice session this morning and we were confident about his chances for a top-ten in qualifying," said Bachelart. "But he showed in Australia that he can pass competitors, and he has plenty of fresh tires for the race, so he has the opportunity to do well."
The Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team has scored four top-ten finishes in the last two races, and Bachelart is hoping to finish the season off with a podium on Sunday.
"Justin had a very good qualifying effort today," said Bachelart. "Justin was able to get the absolute maximum out of the car we gave him, so we are proud of his effort, and hopefully we can get a strong result with both drivers on Sunday."
1991 Indy Lights Champion Eric Bachelart started Conquest Racing in 1997 to compete in the Indy Lights series, scoring a podium finish with driver Christophe Tinseau in the team's first season. Conquest Racing competed in the next four seasons in Indy Lights, winning races with Felipe Giaffone and Kristian Kolby. Mike Lanigan, President of Mi-Jack Products, an intermodal Chicago based company became a co-owner in 2002. Mi-Jack Conquest racing contested the 2002 Indy Racing League season with rookie Laurent Redon, netting a podium finish in just the third race of the season and clinched the Rookie of the year award.
Mi-Jack Conquest racing rejoined the Champ Car family in 2003, stepping up to the Champ Car World Series with Brazilian Mario Haberfeld and scoring eleven top-ten finishes despite competing with a Reynard. The team is proud to be contesting its second season in the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford, with rookie drivers Justin Wilson and Nelson Philippe.