Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey Press Conference Transcript with Sebastien Bourdais, Mario Dominguez and Justin Wilson Eric Mauk: We'll begin our final qualifying press conference for tomorrow's Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey and...
Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey Press Conference Transcript with
Sebastien Bourdais, Mario Dominguez and Justin Wilson
Eric Mauk: We'll begin our final qualifying press conference for tomorrow's Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey and our top three starters for Sunday's Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey are here after today's qualifying session to join us today. We will start with the third place qualifier, the driver of the #34 Mi-Jack Conquest Ford Cosworth Lola Bridgestone, Justin Wilson. Justin put up a best time of 1:14.354 seconds, 101.869 miles per hour, to establish not only a career best starting spot for himself, but the best starting spot ever for a car from the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing stable. Justin, congratulations, another strong run today. How do you feel about starting third tomorrow?
Justin Wilson: I'm pretty happy. Pretty confident, the car was very good. The guys did a great job, so we knew that we were in with a chance. We felt that maybe we could have a good shot at challenging for pole, and I think we got off to a great start in the warmup. But then I got something in my eyes and I couldn't take part in that. We were one of the first to hit the track during qualifying and just getting the laps in. The car looked really good, and it could have been a little bit better. I made a few mistakes on the last lap, but there's no time for excuses. You've got to do it and we're quite happy with our performance still. We have a good race car for tomorrow.
Eric Mauk: Justin was the first of six drivers that broke the existing track record today, and Justin you mentioned you went out early, was that just a function of wanting to get out when there was a clear track or what was the strategy?
Justin Wilson: Yeah, we wanted to get out early mainly because of the problem we had in the warmup. I was going up to the straight and I suddenly got something in my left eye so I could not see. So I slowed down came back to the pits, got taken over to the medical center. They washed it out, put some ointment in it, so I was able to do the qualifying. So they did a great job. We just wanted to get on the track early because of that.
Eric Mauk: Our second place starter in tomorrow's event starting on the outside of the front row, the driver of the #55 Herdez Competition Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, Mario Dominguez. His effort is his best ever starting spot in a Champ Car event, and obviously the best starting spot here at Monterey, starting in the front row tomorrow, Mario, congratulations. How does it feel?
Mario Dominguez: (Response in Spanish).
Eric Mauk: You were fifth in yesterday's qualifying, but very fast in warm-up and practice and came out today and ran well. Did you make any big changes between today and yesterday?
Mario Dominguez: (Response in Spanish).
Eric Mauk: Our pole sitter driver of the #2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman/Haas Racing, setting a new track record with a time of 1:13:951, 102.274 miles per hour, first pole of the year, sixth of his career, Sebastien Bourdais. Another pole, another year, another track record; how do you feel?
Sebastien Bourdais: I guess the track in Monterrey is suiting me pretty well. Another track record, as you said. I do feel there's so much we can learn. We started very fast and we kept going consistently. The Bridgestone tires are very good and it's been one of the biggest improvements since last year. It's consistently been fast in every single session, so I think that we don't want to change the setup much, really. We just tuned it there and there. But basically, the main thing, we started with is the same right now, and I feel confident for tomorrow's race because, you know, we have the greatest race car, same people from last year, and after the program we had, and I just want to have a trouble-free race, and it should be a good event for us. Press conference transcript
Eric Mauk: You got through the first corner last year with no problems, and led the first 16 laps, how do you attack that first corner tomorrow?
Sebastien Bourdais: Well, I think I'm going to have the same approach with the problem, you know. If you stay on the lane, you're pretty much trouble-free. I think Mario is pretty happy and I'm happy for him that he's over on the first row with me, and it's great for the Mexican crowd. I think it's going to be a very tough situation to crash into each other, and I'm sure that if we pay attention and avoid that, we can do well
Q: For the three drivers, how was the grip and how does it compare to last year?
Sebastien Bourdais: The car is not rolling on the tires by itself. I guess the track was a bit cleaner, again, as I said and that helps, to have more grip on the racetrack. It's still very slick and slippery in places. There's no way it's going to get really grippy somehow because the Tarmac is much too tight. So you're never going to have a beautiful grip on this racetrack. But the improvements are quite significant; it's very interesting.
Q: For all three of you, yesterday a lot of complaints about the qualifying system that was instituted. Today, they reverted, they said they listened to you and the teams. So would you please respond to that? Are you happy to go back to the old format? Did that please you and do you feel like they listened to you?
Sebastien Bourdais: It's important to comment on the mistake, we did, the organization did, and I'd just like to say that if we can change the qualifying format, I'd like to see the race format change for this race. I mean, we all agree that the best quality and the best show we can have is with the old system, and if there's not we change for that tomorrow, I would be very happy to see the pit window back tomorrow.
Mario Dominguez: I think I agree with Sebastien. Champ Car people listened to us again.
Justin Wilson: I just said yesterday, you know, it's all new to me anyway, so I'm just taking it as we go along. And all of the rules are new to me, so I just have to learn them as we go. You know, it doesn't really affect me as much as the other guys.
Q: How do you feel about the Mexican drivers? What do you think about Mexican drivers?
Sebastien Bourdais: Mario is alongside me the first race, so they must be pretty good. I've been fighting pretty hard last year with Mario and Michel (Jourdain). I know they are very good drivers, and I think this year that the experience has been very good in the engineering department, and I think he's a very good driver. And just a bit sad for Michel because I think he was really showing very promising results last year, and you know, now he's just really struggling to try and find a balance with a new team. But it should come to him. It's just going to take a bit more time.
Q: First of all, congratulations for all players and in particular, for you, Justin. Great performance on a totally new track for you. What was your secret?
Justin Wilson: I think it all happened before we got here, really. My engineers did a great job in the basic setup that we started this weekend which was very good. All of the changes we made have been very small, just to try things. Sometimes we have not liked it and gone back to the basic setup and sometimes we have kept it on. So, the car has been fantastic, and each time you go out, just get quicker and as the track gets more grip, and as we find out more with the car set up, we just keep making improvements. So I'm very happy for the whole Mi-Jack Conquest Team.
Eric Mauk: Thank you very much, we have to end the press conference a little early so that the drivers can get to the mandatory drivers meeting.