Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey Race Day Press Conference with Sebastien Bourdais, Bruno Junqueira, Mario Dominguez Eric Mauk: We now begin our final post-race press conference with our top three finishers from today's Tecate/Telmex Grand...
Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey Race Day Press Conference with Sebastien Bourdais, Bruno Junqueira, Mario Dominguez
Eric Mauk: We now begin our final post-race press conference with our top three finishers from today's Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey, Round Two of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.
We'll start with our second place finisher on the day, the driver of the #6 PacifiCare/Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman/Haas Racing, Bruno Junqueira. He finished second on the day earning his 18th podium finish of his career. He led five laps and he currently stands second in the championship standings.
Bruno, another race, another second place finish, two podiums so far this year. How do you feel about the way things went?
Bruno Junqueira: I think it was a very good, again, for the whole PacifiCare Newman/Haas team, and actually, the McDonald's Newman/Haas Team, as well. Another finish, 1 and 2 for Newman/Haas two, times in four years on this track, and I think it was a great result for us. It was a really difficult race, especially because off the pit stops, me and Sebastien were much faster than everybody. Not taking anything off everybody, but early in the race, the yellow flags, everybody got together again and all of the different strategies, you couldn't lead the whole race, everyone was chasing. But I think in the end, the speed of the Newman Haas cars was a factor and we finish 1 and 12.
I think it was a the good race between me and Sebastien. He drove really well, really fast pace. And I pass him on the first pit stop, he pass on the second. It was a little bit of a -- inaudible -- hole, goes one lap later, want to take a bigger risk, but I think I'm okay. I'm pretty happy with the result. Really good for the Mexicans, as well, Mario Dominguez had a good race, fastest one on the first lap.
Eric Mauk: Slick track; some guys had some problems staying on course today. You were there all day long, tires held up well for you?
Bruno Junqueira: My car was really good. The Bridgestone tires work really well. To be true, I didn't put one wheel out of the racetrack. I was very clean throughout the race. I saw pretty much everybody, even when he was Sebastien passing me, I saw him go on the grass when I was behind him and I went and I was in front of him. And I knew the car was sliding a lot. It was pretty hot and then it's very tiring on the drivers.
I don't know what's happened with my brakes. Even on the warmup before we start the race, I thought my brakes were really hot and halfway through the race my left leg started to hurt a lot because I had to do twice the effort as I always do to brake. I had to really, really push hard the brake pedal, and my leg got pretty tired and it was really difficult to end the race. I'm happy with the second place.
Eric Mauk: Bruno is in second place in the championship at the moment. The top five in the Champ Car World Series, Sebastien Bourdais, our points leader at 63; Bruno Junqueira second at 57; Paul Tracy is in third at 49; Patrick Carpentier is fourth with 48; and Mario Dominguez is fifth at 47.
We are now joined by the third place finisher in today's Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey, the driver of the #55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, Mario Dominguez. Mario finishes third, earns his seventh podium of his career and finishes in the top ten for the seventh consecutive race. Your second consecutive podium here, strong race, a tough day for you, but you end up on the podium, how does it feel?
Mario Dominguez: (Speaking in Spanish.)
Eric Mauk: You've really become a consistent competitor and force up front in the Champ Car World Series, what do you point to as the reason behind your consistency here of late?
Mario Dominguez: (Speaking in Spanish).
Eric Mauk: The winner of the Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey, the driver of the #2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman Haas Racing, Sebastien Bourdais. Sebastien led 43 laps on the day to collect his fourth career win, and as Bruno referenced, he completes the first 1,2 finish of the season for Newman/Haas and their first since Denver of last season.
Sebastien, fourth career win, you pretty much dominated here today, led 43 laps. How do you feel about the way things went?
Sebastien Bourdais: Well, I have to say, I'm really happy with the Newman/Haas crew, because I guess last year, it's been pretty unfair, the way we lost the race here. I really had the revenge to take over this race. We've been dominant last year over the weekend, after kind of being on and off on Friday, but it's been very good until 20 laps into the race. And this year, it's been a dominant weekend, also, for us and I think we just had the right fitting with what we need to have on the car. I am feeling really good here in Monterrey, Mexico. I love this track. It feels so good to win a race in front of so many people.
So at the end of the day, it's been pretty difficult to achieve what we wanted to. At some point I thought it was going to be impossible. Especially because of the new rules and I think even Mario benefit the rules, I think understands that it's not fair, because -- inaudible -- only made a mistake, thought he was going to win the race at one point. We had a big problem at the first pit stop. Bruno took advantage of that, so it was not too bad, because it was a Newman/Haas car and I felt it was going to be very difficult to win it now.
And, you know, we just came out together and we did the best lap time during the race, over six-tenths, the fastest lap time of the race. I think I just proved that I could really go to all-new level with my car here, and I did it last year and it didn't go, but this year, it just went fine.
Eric Mauk: Sebastien set a new track record today for fastest lap run in a race. Sebastien, you have the points lead for the first time in your career, granted there's a long way to go, but how does it feel to have the lead now?
Sebastien Bourdais: Well, you know it's much better to be leading the championship than having two bad results to start with. But, you know, it's still a long way to go. It's just going to be all about consistency and if we are in the top five consistently through the season, I think both Bruno and I should be fighting each other for the lead at the end.
You know, it's great to start the season with two podiums, including a win. So, 1 and 2 for Newman Haas Racing, 2 and 3 in Long Beach; it's a great start, and I think it's just rewarding for all of the work the team has been doing this winter.
Q: Sebastien as far as your pit stop sequencing, the first pit stop, Bruno came in one lap before you and then you were able to run an additional lap on your second pit stop. If you could talk about how that worked, and then the other issue, you had some problems with blistering your right rear tires this morning and I gather the team had to make quite some changes for the race, a little bit of a gamble, if you could discuss that aspect as well, please.
Sebastien Bourdais: Well, I'm not going to give you what we did on the car, but for sure it's been the most dramatic change I've ever done between the warmup and the race, that's for sure. We shifted the weight, changed the front wing and did so many things, it's unbelievable it worked out. Because really, after 22 laps this morning, I came in to the pit at the end of the warmup and the right rear tire, at the chrome, there was no rubber anymore, so obviously didn't look so good. So I was really concerned during the race, and the first -- I also think I was pushing a bit, but I was so afraid to run out of tires that I had my front anti-roll bar (ph), I was trying to be really gentle with the throttle and trying to set the rear tires. But it looked like it was holding a consistent temperature (ph). So I was getting a bit, you know, more confident in the car. But all in all, I was really concerned until the guys go out and checked my rear tires on my first pit stop.
We stopped one lap before Bruno on the first pit stop. We had a big, big mess. I don't know what happened, to be really honest, I don't know. The car went down on the ground and jacked up again, and they hold me, I don't know, five or six seconds more than what we were expecting. At that point, I was like, all that work for nothing.
And then it all came back together. We start one lap later on the second start on Bruno and passed him again after a couple of mistakes from my side, twice shortcut the chicane, crossed the grass, more than anything, not exactly a big gain on performance. But we all know the guy who is leading one lap early is very able to lose some ground. I'm just glad it all came together for this Newman Haas crew.
Q: Today your car seems unbeatable, there was a moment when Bruno tried to pass you, were you scared for that moment?
Sebastien Bourdais: Not really. I think I've been able to come back on Bruno. I've been able to hold the gap, but as you can see on the best lap times I had I think a bit of an advantage on the performance side. So I don't know, I think the both Newman/Haas cars were able to win today, and I started up front and I got in the success with that.
I think Bruno did a pretty good job, too, and all that really matters right now for the championship, just to finish in the top five or top three, if we can, all the time.
Q: In the last lap were you trying to pass Sebastien Bourdais or trying to keep Mario Dominguez behind you?
Bruno Junqueira: When the last yellow came on, I was maybe two or three seconds behind Sebastien, like three or four seconds in front of Mario. Then I was already set for the second place. For sure, our second stop, we were a little bit -- they were like two or more laps more on the field. We didn't want to take the risk of any else (ph) and that cost me the race.
But then I said for the second position, I was closing off on Sebastien. If you do a mistake, I could pass him, and starting off on Mario, that he could even attack me. When the yellow flag came in, we bunch together, did like two or three laps a little faster, then Mario opened a gap and just hold it. Last lap I slowed down and he got a little bit closer.
I just glad the results. My car is really good, I think as fast as Sebastien, maybe one-tenth slower or the same. I really push the limit. This is why I think he got a much faster lap time than me, however he got more mistakes, as well. It was a very clean race. But I think it was -- to be true, I think more -- inaudible -- than the end of the race, other laps in the race, me and Sebastien were able to open a big gap against the field like two, three laps. I mean, Sebastien was very good. He's a really good driver, especially this track.
I'm quite happy with second place. I hope this year is going to be a big fight between me and Sebastien. Brazilians and French guys fighting in racing, I think it will happen again, as a fight in soccer -- not fighting, fight on the track, okay, because we are pretty good friends outside the track.
Sebastien Bourdais: I would just like to underline something. I think what Bruno said is what we pretty much don't want to see any more with pit rules. That means he's being conservative, he pitted one lap early because he didn't want to get screwed by a yellow. And I'm really upset and fed up with all that. I just don't want to see that happening anymore on the races, you know. It's time to go back on the original rules. We went to see the pit window back and that's a global opinion on the series and that's what I have to say.
Sebastien Bourdais: Yeah, it's been a very tough race. You were asking about the pressure inside the car, and I think it's been one of the toughest races, for sure, with Cleveland last year. And as you could see, I mean, I could barely walk after the end.
So, you know, I'm glad it's been a successful event, but it has not been an easy event. I have been really pushing myself and we all suffer from the temperature. Because at some points, you sweat so much that you cannot cool down your body temperature anymore and it's becoming pretty painful.
The championship, he was asking about, if he thought I was able to win the championship, I mean, obviously, we are in pretty good position right now, and that's definitely the target of the year. But I'm not going to say I killed the bear before I'm going to do it. So that's why I say I think we have a great team with Newman Haas Racing and a great sponsor with McDonald's and let's keep with the good luck.
Q: I want to ask all three drivers: Did you use the push-to-pass button and if you used it up during the race?
Sebastien Bourdais: I did use it. It's definitely the safest way when you are on the pole position. In Long Beach, I did not because I was P-2 and I didn't want to cross the finish line before the P-1. Here, that's the safest way to do it. Last year, it's been a pretty safe stop for me and it's been the same thing again this year. The strategy is working pretty well. I use it during the race, but it didn't work.
Bruno Junqueira: I didn't use in the start. I had a very good start without it. I kind of forgot, not forgot, because I was so busy shifting gears and going through Mario that I ended up not using. And after the race, during the race, I use four or five times trying to pass and two guys that were out of sequence. They were -- actually, I had on the race on me, but they didn't -- inaudible -- and then I had to yield to pass those guys.
Mario Dominguez: I didn't use it at the start. I used it quite a bit during the race.
Eric Mauk: I'd like to bring Jorge Lozano here. I believe the people of the Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey deserve a round of applause for putting on an outstanding event. I'd like to bring Mr. Lozano up here to talk about some things today.
Jorge Lozano: (Speaking in Spanish.)
Eric Mauk: Mr. Lozano tells us that the actual ticket count at take-in from Ticketmaster -- so this is the actual ticket count for the three-day, the attendance number is 183,311. For race day today, the number was 94,514, a race day attendance number that was better than last year's race day attendance number. So we'd like to thank everyone for putting on a first-class event, as always, and we look forward to coming back here next year. Thank you very much for your attendance this weekend and good afternoon.