An interview with: TRISTAN GOMMENDY WILL POWER SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Welcome to today's qualifying press conference for the Champ Car Mont-Tremblant. Starting third tomorrow will be Sebastien Bourdais.
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Welcome to today's qualifying press conference for the Champ Car Mont-Tremblant.
Starting third tomorrow will be Sebastien Bourdais. You were one of the only drivers to go out there on the slick tires. How was it in the drying conditions?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, we were one of the first ones to go on wets, because we had a feeling it might get worse from there. Then the blue sky arrived, so it was a wash. We stopped pretty early and then went to dry tires as soon as we could because it felt like we were going to need every lap to get the tires up.
I think it was the right strategy. Will actually went a lap before us and ends up on pole. I think it was the right thing to do. It's just unfortunately the gearbox failed, something failed. We were losing oil, oil pressure, and the gearbox wouldn't downshift and wouldn't upshift properly. Bruno nearly ran into the back of my car two laps to the end. There really was nothing I could do.
Yeah, I don't know what's going on this year, but we just don't seem to have everything going our way like it's been in the last three years. It's a little tough because, you know, we were the quickest car by quite a bit this morning without putting new tires. We felt like we were going to have a real good shot at putting the McDonald's car on the pole, but it turned out different. It's probably going to change the rest of the weekend quite dramatically because we're going to start third and it's definitely not pole.
We'll do the best we can and see how it turns out tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Earning his first career Champ Car World Series pole position is Tristan Gommendy. Tristan, you didn't have to work hard for that pole today, but yesterday putting in that lap is really what mattered.
TRISTAN GOMMENDY: Yeah, for sure. I wanted to go, but the team didn't want. For sure it was the risk for the car. We have been a big problem with the engine this morning. We stay in the pits. Okay, it's not my decision. It wasn't necessary for the pole. It was easy today.
THE MODERATOR: Tristan's pole marks the second for PKV Racing. The first was set by Jimmy Vasser in 2005 in Milwaukee.
We also welcome in our fastest qualifier today, starting second, earning the championship point and also earning the front row spot, Will Power. Will, you were able to go out and turn the quickest lap when it changed times four times in the last minute.
WILL POWER: I knew the last lap would be the quickest. Every lap before that was just trying things. Yeah, I just put a whole lap together at the end there. We really need to start on the front row this weekend because we had such a bad weekend last weekend, and also at Portland not such a good one. We're really after a win.
THE MODERATOR: With that, we'll open it up to questions.
Q: How does it feel to have Sebastien in the back of you, knowing that he had such a quick car this morning? Yeah, for both of you. He had the quickest car by far when it was dry.
WILL POWER: Yeah, this morning I was just doing sectors. I didn't actually put a lap together. I was just working on the two seconds sectors. I really struggled. I think we would have been right on it if the qualifying session would have been dry.
It's always hard to tell how your car's going to be in the race, but I expect we'll be competitive.
TRISTAN GOMMENDY: I think it's two arms, two legs like everybody.
Q: He has three championships.
TRISTAN GOMMENDY: Yeah, for sure (laughter). We will see. I think the start, it's easier when you start in front, so less crash, less problem normally. We will see. We will see Sunday.
For this morning, for sure was quick. But we had some problem with the engine. We were quick, too. We tried with a lot of fuel this morning. I don't know exactly what we can do with the slick tires and new stickers. I don't know why slower. We were quick yesterday. We can do a good job also tomorrow I think. I am sure.
Q: Tristan, did you pray for rain? By not going out this afternoon, does that in any way affect how the car will be set up for tomorrow at all?
TRISTAN GOMMENDY: No, no. Today for sure it's the decision of the team. The setup I think is going to be good tomorrow. We didn't try today. It's going to be ready. We worked this morning. I think the car is going to be good tomorrow.
Q: Did you pray for rain?
TRISTAN GOMMENDY: I don't care. We did the pole when it was a wet track at Portland. I think we are quick, so I don't care. For sure I wanted to drive today for the balance of the car if it's raining tomorrow. But the engineer said no chance for tomorrow for rain. Okay, I stay in the car and I wait.
Q: Can you comment on the track and the most difficult part of the track.
TRISTAN GOMMENDY: I don't know. The most difficult? Corner seven is quick. It's not the most difficult. The most difficult I think is the chicane. We can gain a lot of time in this chicane, but it's very hard to stay on the track.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, I think technically the chicane is the biggest problem, the biggest challenge, because you hit the curb a little too hard, the car bounces up and down, and that's it. So you lose a lot of time. So you can gain a lot but you can lose a lot, too. In the race, it's going to be a problem to be consistent.
WILL POWER: Yeah, same deal. Were you talking about in qualifying or in general?
Q: In general.
WILL POWER: In general, it's the chicane, yeah. Just how you hit the curb. You can just hit it a little bit wrong and you land the wrong way, and then you don't know where you're at. The car bounces off the next one, and then you end up in the grass.
It will be interesting in the race to see how many people go off. They should lower the curbs. It would be nice.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: There's nothing we can do now. That's the way it is.
Q: The weather is beyond your control, what did you think of the rain today?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: That's what I was saying. I think it might have actually been a good thing with our gearbox issue, because had it not been raining and been quicker in this session, we would have lost a lot of positions and probably started very far back in the pack.
So, you know, the conditions might actually have helped us with the problem that we encountered because, you know, the failure on the gearbox would have happened just the same under the dry - maybe even quicker. Might have been a little lucky in our bad luck.
Q: How much of a difference do reds make over blacks, or is it more to do with how quickly they come up to temperature?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I think it's pretty much impossible to say because I was on reds and Will was on blacks, but in the meantime nobody tried both. You know, it's impossible to have a comparison point.
We have no background and no comparison on either short or long runs, at least for us. We put two blacks yesterday and one red today in these conditions. We kind of start a little bit blind in where the car goes.
But, yeah, I think it's going to be a little bit of a struggle tomorrow to figure out what you should be doing.
Q: Tristan, you have choice of the inside or outside starting spot tomorrow. Which would you choose? If he chooses one, Will, I'd like your thoughts on the other.
TRISTAN GOMMENDY: Good question, but I don't know yet. I don't know for the moment. Maybe it's logical to stay left, but I don't know yet. I need to see a little bit with the team.
WILL POWER: If he goes to the left --
TRISTAN GOMMENDY: -- you will be at right (laughter).
WILL POWER: Yeah. It depends on whether they're going through the chicane or whether they're cutting it. I mean, does anyone know yet? I don't. Because that will be very interesting.
THE MODERATOR: With that, we will end the formal press conference here.