JUSTIN WILSON LEADS CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES OPEN TEST DAY AT MILWAUKEE MILWAUKEE (June 2, 2006) -- Knowing that any driver that has any designs on running down Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford points leader...
JUSTIN WILSON LEADS CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES OPEN TEST DAY AT MILWAUKEE
MILWAUKEE (June 2, 2006) -- Knowing that any driver that has any designs on running down Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford points leader Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) had better do it this weekend, the field spent the day circling the Milwaukee Mile in hopes of finding speed for this weekend's Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225.
Bourdais has yet to find success on the 1.032-mile West Allis oval, going winless in his three previous starts, and the rest of the Champ Car field is well aware that this weekend's event could pose an opportunity to eat into the huge advantage Bourdais has built in winning each of the year's first three races.
Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) showed that he was ready to take up the chase on a sunny Milwaukee Friday, leading the 17-car field in today's open testing, stopping the clocks in a day's-best time of 21.215 seconds (175.121 mph). He posted his time in the three-hour morning session and then saw it stand up over a long afternoon, giving him an advantage of nearly two-tenths of a second over second-placed Bourdais.
Bourdais led the afternoon session and was second overall after posting a time of 21.406 seconds (173.559 mph), but warned that there are a lot of variables in testing, and that today's performance doesn't automatically carry over into tomorrow's qualifying.
"It's a promising result for us but you never know what the other guys are working on and how they got their times," said Bourdais. "We're fairly happy with what we have but we'll have to wait and see how the weather cooperates tomorrow because the temperature makes a huge difference in your car here. We feel good right now, but we can't get too optimistic yet."
Times could have changed dramatically in the last 15 minutes of the session as most drivers were planning late-session runs in qualifying trim, but a crash involving Nelson Philippe (#4 CTE Racing -- HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) scrapped that strategy. Philippe spun between the third and fourth turn and hit the wall, and was later taken to Froedtert Hospital for precautionary x-rays and an MRI exam after complaining of neck soreness.
2003 Milwaukee polesitter Alex Tagliani (#15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) found speed late in the session to move into the third spot, logging in with a best time of 21.457 seconds (173.146 mph). In posting his best lap, Tagliani vaulted ahead of Bruno Junqueira (#2 Hole In The Wall Camps Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Mario Dominguez (#7 Orgullo de Mexico Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), who rounded out the top five ahead of Philippe.
"We feel really confident in our car and I think there's still a couple of tenths (of a second) in there to come out," Tagliani said. "I love this track, it's challenging and you really have to drive the car here. You have to respect this track or it can bite you, but having a good car gives you the confidence to go out and push. I think we're in good shape."
Saturday's action will begin at 9 a.m. Central Time with a two-hour practice, followed by single-car qualifying for the Bridgestone Pole Position, beginning at 1:00 p.m. Fans can follow all of the action via the Race Director feature available on the official website of the series, www.champcar.ws.