Champ Car Friday Post-Qualifying Press Conference from The Molson Indy Montreal Sebastien Bourdais Alex Tagliani Mario Dominguez ERIC MAUK: We'll get started with our press conference after the first round of qualifying for the Molson Indy...
Champ Car Friday Post-Qualifying Press Conference from The Molson Indy Montreal
ERIC MAUK: We'll get started with our press conference after the first round of qualifying for the Molson Indy Montreal, Round Ten of the Bridgestone presents Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. I'm Eric Mauk, news manager for the Champ Car World Series.
We are joined by our Top 3 qualifiers on the day, starting with our third best qualifier, the driver of the #55 Herdez Competition Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, Mario Dominguez. Mario puts up a top lap of 1:22.056, 118.851 miles per hour, qualifying third on the provisional grid, a position that if it holds up through Saturday would be his best starting spot since Monterrey. Mario, a good run, a little bobble there at the end, but you still salvaged third out of it. How do you feel?
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: It's unfortunate, I started pushing the envelope too hard, the car lost the rear and I had the accident, but I think the times would have definitely dropped there everybody else, so the track was picking up grip. We are looking pretty strong. We have a pretty strong car. In the first qualifying session, we were the fastest and I'm pretty happy with what we got. We'll make a few changes on the car. We can definitely improve for tomorrow and try to catch these guys and give this guy (Bourdais) a run for his money.
ERIC MAUK: Feeling all right, no ill effects physically from the hit?
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: Just my ego.
ERIC MAUK: Our second place qualifier, the pole sitter from last year's event, the man who led 52 of the first 57 laps a year ago, driver of the #8 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Rocketsports Racing, Alex Tagliani, his best lap 1:21.791, and 119.236 miles per hour, second on the provisional grid; and if it holds up through Saturday would be his best qualifying effort of the season. Alex, good run, strong run, just got caught out at the end.
ALEX TAGLIANI: Yeah, we're a little bit surprised that -- coming in after Sebastien, and they ran many, many laps on the first stint. Our strategy was to run a few laps on the first set of tires, come in, make a change, do a middle run with the old tires, see if everything is good, and evaluate the change and go back out with a newer set of tires. But we cut it really close at the end, and it we had a few minutes with the incident of Mario, we basically didn't add a run on our second set of tires. When I went out in middle run with the old tires, I was already a lot quicker than my first run. So, I should have probably completed that last lap before coming in.
ERIC MAUK: Really fast right out of the box here, I have to imagine you are pretty confident heading into tomorrow.
ALEX TAGLIANI: Yeah, we would have loved to be in Sebastien's spot today because I think we have a very, very quick car, but it's good to be in this position and knowing that we have a fast car and we can fairly have a shot for the pole tomorrow.
ERIC MAUK: Our leader of first day qualifying, driver of the #2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman Haas Racing, Sebastien Bourdais. Sebastien is guaranteed a front row starting spot for Sunday's event, the eighth time in the ten races of this year that he will have started in the front row, his third consecutive front row start row start, with a lap of 1:21.695, 119.367 miles her hour, and earns a championship point for leading today, giving him 249 on the year and widening his points lead to 57 over Bruno Junqueira. And Sebastien, here we are again. How do you feel about the way it went today?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Obviously everybody knows that when you sit on the pole, it's a very great feeling. I'm very happy for the guys who are working very hard from the beginning of the season and really get the reward. It's looking good. We'll just try and keep our heads down because everybody is looking a lot around us. But we just really need to stay focused.
ERIC MAUK: Looked like fairly rapidly changing weather conditions today, much more humid as the day went on. How tough is it to keep up with that and keep the car where you want it?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: This racetrack is not really used too much, so it's running pretty fast and the track picks up a lot of grip. Really it just keeps improving, because the grip is higher and higher; so you are having a very good time the more you run, the more grip you get. And the car is very good and very nice to drive. So I'm just having a very pleasant time right now and the car is pretty satisfying. It was a very good lap going on the second set, but the red flag came out. So I'm not going to complain about anything, still finished No. 1, and we'll have a shot again tomorrow and we'll try again tomorrow.
ERIC MAUK: Did you run any alternate Bridgestone?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: No, we were pretty good and we were happy with the Bridgestone tires we had. Just another two pretty good options here that we can use, and hopefully we'll be able to evaluate the test between the two options tomorrow. But, you know, hopefully the weather is going to stay clear and we'll be able to find out tomorrow.
Q: Mario, what about the car, how bad is it? Will they be able to fix this or are you going to have to go to the back-up for what's going to happen with that?
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: No, it's not too bad. It's just the right-rear corner and the right-rear window, so they should have that fixed by this afternoon.
Q: Earlier this week, you talked about your concern with the tires coming in here because of the experience you had at Portland this year. Are you more hopeful of the good race this weekend seeing what the car did today on the tires?
ALEX TAGLIANI: Yeah, I mean, we are still a little bit concerned. Portland was a track where we ran the same tires, and it's a very abrasive track; so we were destroying the tires really quickly. So we didn't have the balance of the car right. Obviously, we were not able to keep the consistency in the car for a full stint. So, we started the weekend much better, but I think there's still a lot of work to be done and we'll try to have a very consistent car for the length of a stint in the race.
Q: Although there's passing places on this track, is there any extra urgency to qualify on the front row at a tight track like this?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I don't think it's really a tight track. You just like to put yourself up front to prevent falling behind because really the key of the season so far is just really running away from the incidents. So hopefully it's going to be a clean and nice start and won't have to repeat what happened in Denver. I guess it's possible here to pass but it makes life a lot harder if you have to do that.
Q: Mario, it looked like it was actually a pretty hard hit; you jumped out, how hard of a hit was it? It seemed to be a pretty good compliment to the safety of the car, the HANS device; what would you say about that?
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: I thought it was going to be a pretty hard hit because I went into the tires pretty fast. There's like two rows of tires there, so it was like very soft. The hit didn't feel very hard at all, so that was good. I think the track did a pretty good job there, from like the first row of tires and then another row of tires at the back. I'll give a compliment to the track, the safety barrier there is pretty good. If there had been just one set of tires near against the wall, it would have been a lot harder.
ERIC MAUK: Thank you, that will conclude our press conference today. Qualifying for tomorrow begins at 1:45. Thank you.