TRISTAN GOMMENDY CLIMBS TO THE TOP OF THE TIME CHARTS IN PROVSIONAL QUALIFYING FOR CHAMP CAR MONT-TREMBLANT MONT-TREMBLANT, QUEBEC, CANADA -- Friday's qualifying session in the ski village of Mont-Tremblant brought back memories of the ...
TRISTAN GOMMENDY CLIMBS TO THE TOP OF THE TIME CHARTS IN PROVSIONAL QUALIFYING FOR CHAMP CAR MONT-TREMBLANT
MONT-TREMBLANT, QUEBEC, CANADA -- Friday's qualifying session in the ski village of Mont-Tremblant brought back memories of the childhood game of "King of the Mountain" as nearly every driver in the Champ Car World Series held the top spot on the speed charts during the frantic qualifying session. When the checkered flag flew it was Tristan Gommendy (#22 PayBy Touch-Megaspiera Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who proved royalty by claiming a championship point and a front row starting spot by earning the provisional pole with a lap of 76.776 seconds (122.898 mph).
Gommendy, one of eight rookies competing this season, set the fast lap on his fifth orbit of the mountain track. The young Frenchman tried to better his time by donning the red Bridgestone alternate Potenzas, but like all but one driver in the field he was unable to lap the track any faster. That one driver was Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who clocked his fastest time at the checkered flag, running a 76.783 second (122.887 mph) lap.
Team Australia's Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) also had visions of the provisional pole running a lap at 76.841 seconds (122.794 mph) around the 2.621-mile track. Power who is an old sparring partner of Gommendy's from 2004 in European Formula cars posted the third fastest time. CDW driver Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone ) was fourth quickest at 76.843 seconds (122.791 mph). The tall Brit also tried the red Bridgestone alternates on his second stint but like everyone else he struggled to improve the time he set earlier in the session.
Rookie sensation Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) posted a lap at 76.850 seconds (122.779 mph. The "Flying Dutchman" entered the session with only 15 minutes remaining and promptly moved into the top-three. Unfortunately for Doornbos the time did not hold up and he had to settle for fifth.
Rookies Neel Jani (#21 Red Bull-Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) were sixth and seventh on the time sheets, making it four freshman in the top-seven.
Quebec native Alex Tagliani (#8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was eighth fastest in front of his hometown fans Tagliani brought a cheer from the fans early in the session by posting quick lap and holding a spot near the top of the time charts but was unable to continue to better his time.
Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Dan Clarke (#4 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) rounded out the top-10.
Final qualifying for Champ Car Mont-Tremblant will begin at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on Saturday. The race on the picturesque track is scheduled for Sunday, July 1 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern and can be seen live on ESPN.
QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE FRIDAY QUALIFIERS
Tristan Gommendy: "We put the black tires on like everybody in the beginning. We did a quite good lap with black tires. The car wasn't very stable. When my engineer asked me what I want, I said generally more grip, not really more front, more rear. No, it was more general grip. So he said, okay, we will try the red tires. It's going to be normally more grip. We tried it, but the balance of the car changed. But for us today the red tires weren't quicker. I think it's the same for everybody because I saw some drivers put the red tires, but I think they didn't improve their lap time. I think it was the same problem for everybody. Anyway, it was a good day for me."
Sebastien Bourdais: "On my part, I made a small mistake on the last lap when I felt like I really -- I really thought people were improving. I had to push a little extra and go for a bigger chunk of lap time and just run wide in turn eight. That did it. As close as it was today, any mistake just cost you the pole. It was a good fight. I wasn't expecting so many guys to be that close. I guess that's how competitive the series is right now. People keep on telling us it's too easy. Well, you have your answer."
Will Power: "It's really nice to be here at this circuit. To be in the top three again, that's really good. Would have rather been on pole. You know, it's definitely going to get quicker tomorrow because this track rubbers up so much. Might even be a little cooler. Today for us it doesn't really mean much being third because it's either the pole today or nothing. We're going to go back, have a look at the data, get the car a little better, go for it tomorrow. But it's good to be up here with an old sparring partner of mine."