G.I. JOE'S PRESENTS THE CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF PORTLAND PRE-RACE QUOTES Sebastien Bourdais, ...
G.I. JOE'S PRESENTS THE CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF PORTLAND PRE-RACE QUOTES
Sebastien Bourdais, #1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "Our weekend in Portland last year put the McDonald's team on a roll, it was the beginning of a very good summer. It was definitely a great stretch for us we won in Portland, we won Cleveland and Toronto and had a very good summer. Portland is a track where you can have a great weekend. The car can be perfect and the flow is very important. If you don't have the flow it's a real struggle. I was very happy with the balance of the car last year. We perfectly anticipated the shift with the temperature. The McDonald's car was up front the whole day and Newman/Haas Racing felt very dominant; we nearly lapped the whole field except Tracy so it was quite an impressive performance. I think the changes they did on the race track are interesting and probably safer for the start. Everybody was fighting at a very, very slow speed at the apex of Turn 2 and now it's a bit smoother. Everybody can keep the speed so we shouldn't see a big pile of cars at the start. We should have a clean start, keep all the cars on the race track, put on a good show and have a good day. I think Oriol was a good choice to drive the PacifiCare car while Bruno is recuperating. We worked well together in Milwaukee and he was able to bring the team a podium finish. I think he deserves a chance to drive top equipment."
Justin Wilson #9 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "I'm really looking forward to Portland. Everything points to a great result for us; we were the two quickest cars at the open test after Long Beach and we've been improving each race. Milwaukee was such a great run for both RuSPORT cars and we've definitely picked up even more momentum. I'm also very keen on breaking my streak of 4th-place finishes and actually getting to that podium this weekend."
Paul Tracy #3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "Portland is a fun track to drive that puts a premium on placing the car really precisely on a line. With the changes they've done to the Festival Curves I think you're going to see everybody willing to take a bit more risk at Turn 1, and that should be entertaining for the fans. With that runoff area paved instead of gravel hopefully we'll see fewer caution periods and have a nice clean race. I'm looking forward to backing up our win at Milwaukee with a win here in Portland."
A.J. Allmendinger #10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "Milwaukee was the turning point I was really looking for, with a front-row start and my best Champ Car finish with a 2nd. Last year, it was the same and after Milwaukee we just really started putting it together on the track. I'm confident we can keep the momentum going. RuSPORT had the fastest cars at the last Champ Car test here, so we've got a good place to start from on Friday. Last year here Justin (Wilson) and I had a great race against each other and really pushed hard. Now that we're on the same team, the plan is to push each other right into Victory Circle."
Oriol Servia #2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "To drive the PacifiCare car is a great opportunity for me although I don't like the circumstances of getting it. Bruno is my friend and I will work hard to make him proud. I'm with the best team ever and it's fantastic to drive the PacifiCare car that was leading the championship and I'm going to do my best to give them good finishes. People ask if there is more pressure but it's actually the other way. With this team, everything is done so my life is easier and all I have to do is concentrate on driving the car and doing my job. Usually people have appreciated what I have been able to do with the equipment I am in and I hope that I can do that with Newman/Haas as well because they have obviously proved that their equipment is excellent.
"I think they changed Turn 1 in a good way because it was too slow, especially at the start. It was way too easy which made everybody want to be the first out of there so you could easily see crashes there. Now there is still potential for crashes but it is definitely better and I'm sure it will improve the racing. Portland is a very special track, I like it. It has some fast corners, some very fast chicanes and slow corners and there are a lot of flowing corners so you need to have a lot of grip and a well balanced car. I'm sure the PacifiCare car will be very good there. The best time I had there was in my rookie year in 2000. The team I was with was running Toyotas and I was the highest qualified Toyota. I out qualified (Juan) Montoya, (Cristiano) da Matta, and (Jimmy) Vasser so it was a good track for me."
Mario Dominguez #7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "We were very quick in a test here in Portland recently so I'm looking forward to the race. For me, it's the toughest track of the year. The way it has to be driven is an odd rhythm. It's just tough for me in some way that I can't really explain. That's why it was so satisfying to test well here a few weeks ago. It was a feeling that I've never had here before so I'm looking forward to a great race."
Jimmy Vasser #12 Gulfstream PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "PKV Racing tested in Portland so we have a very good idea of what we need to do to be quick there. The team has made a lot of progress over the last two races, but we still have a lot of work to do. I am looking forward to building on the pole we got in Milwaukee and continuing to improve as a team this weekend in Portland. I have a very long history at Portland International Raceway going all the way to my Formula Ford days and have raced there every year of my Champ Car career. I really like the track and the area, plus the fans are very knowledge. I have had some success on the PIR track, but not as much as I would like. I usually qualify well in Portland, but it is one of the tracks in the series where I have not won. Hopefully, I can change that this weekend."
Timo Glock #8 DHL Global Mail Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: ""This is the first track that I really know because we tested there early on. It was not a bad test and I got a good feeling for the track. I am really looking forward to it, and returning to a road course. Our last race was on an oval, and we just wanted to get through the weekend safely and we were able to accomplish that, knowing we have a good car that is ready to go now for Portland. For me, this is the second start of the season, because I am now more familiar with the car and the rules in Champ Car. The Rocketsports team is prepared for this weekend and I know we have a good chance to do well here. We will have to wait and see how the weather is going to be, right now, they are predicting rain during the weekend, so it will be interesting and fun to see how things go."
Cristiano da Matta, #21 PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "PKV Racing tested in Portland in April, but since then we have done a lot of things away from the track that I think will really help our performance. We have been doing a lot of development work at the shop and working on some things I think will help the Bell Micro/PKV Racing car's performance at Portland. I won from the pole in Portland in 2002 and going back to Indy Lights I have always been fast there. Hopefully, it won't be any different this year."
Andrew Ranger #27 Tide/Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "I am looking very forward to going back to Portland," said Ranger. "I particularly like corner nine, which is a very fast turn. I know that since Milwaukee, the team has been working very hard on the set up of the car, this coupled with the extra seat time I have had at the races in Monterrey and Milwaukee, I am very optimistic about the upcoming weekend in Portland."
Ronnie Bremer #55 HVM Inc. Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "PIR is a nice circuit, I liked it last year in the Atlantic car, so I am sure I will love it this year in the Champ Car. I went second quickest in the first practice, it was my first ever session on that track last year. I am happy to be on a natural road course, I am sure we can do a good job there. Unfortunately we did not test there, but I am sure the team has a good car there anyway."
Bjorn Wirdheim #4 HVM Inc. Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "I've never been to Portland, but after watching the video tapes from last year I can't wait to get there. It is a beautiful circuit and looks technical and a bit challenging, but those of course are my favorite types of track, so I can't wait for the first practice on Friday morning."
Ryan Hunter-Reay #31 Briggs & Stratton Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "Portland is a great circuit; it's a natural terrain road course that you have to attach, which makes it a very physical race and that suits my driving style perfectly. A lap on this fast, flowing track is a very enjoyable experience but if I had to pick my favorite section, it would be the Festival Chicane as this is an amazing passing zone. The Portland track is also a rarity in that in that we can test there prior to the race, so we can get the most of the set-up work nailed a long time in advance. This is an event steeped in Champ Car history and you must not miss the start as they are always pretty hair-rising!"
Nelson Philippe #34 Wellbox Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "One of the best road courses in the US, Portland is definitely a tricky place for drivers," said Philippe. "One section of the track is really tight and turns a lot and it is very fun for the driver. The back chicane is amazing as we are practically flat out and it is a rush to go through there. I think that the new festival curves are going to give the track a really nice flow and will create more passing opportunities."