WILSON REMAINS THE FASTEST MAN IN PORTLAND CLAIMING THE POLE POSITION FOR SUNDAY'S RACE Tagliani's showing almost made for a RSPORTS front row sweep PORTLAND, Oregon (June 9, 2007) -- It was a wet one in Portland today, but that did not dampen...
WILSON REMAINS THE FASTEST MAN IN PORTLAND CLAIMING THE POLE POSITION FOR SUNDAY'S RACE
Tagliani's showing almost made for a RSPORTS front row sweep
PORTLAND, Oregon (June 9, 2007) -- It was a wet one in Portland today, but that did not dampen the team's hope to capture the pole position with Justin Wilson and round out a top four start with Alex Tagliani for RSPORTS when they take the green flag tomorrow for the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe's Sports and Outdoor.
Wilson proved he was quick, rain or shine, this morning during the practice session. The rain started coming down on the Rose City just minutes before the green flag dropped this morning. The team had anticipated the rain was coming and were prepared by making changes for the wet track conditions. Those changes only demonstrated that Wilson is the man to beat here in Portland as he ran a 1:11.065 (99.492 mph) and sat P1 at the end of the session.
The rain continued into this afternoon, but the final round of qualifying went on as scheduled. With the rain, it was obvious that Wilson's provisional qualifying time of 58.000 seconds was unbeatable, but the second spot on the front row was still up for grabs. Wilson was aiming to be the fastest this afternoon, but he was also playing it safe. He ended up posting the third fastest lap during the wet session, with a time of 1:11.670 (98.652 mph).
Tagliani ended his first stint sitting P1 on today's timing charts with a time of 1:11.941 (98.281 mph), and things were looking positive. Despite being held up on a fast lap, the French-Canadian knew he had a strong car in the rain and was hoping to have another shot at a good run this afternoon during his second stint. However, two red flags hindered his hopes, which saw him finish fifth overall during the rainy round of qualifying.
With the rain slowing down lap times, the RSPORTS drivers' provisional qualifying times were not beaten, so they will start Round four of the 2007 Champ Car World Series in the top four. Wilson earned his second pole position here at Portland International Raceway driving the #9 CDW/RSPORTS car. This pole position marks his first in 2007, and the fifth in his Champ Car career. The fourth-year Champ Car driver will make his 44th Champ Car start on the inside of row one and looks for his first victory in Portland.
Tagliani matches his best Champ Car start in Portland of fourth, which he previously earned in 2002 and 2005. His fourth-place start this weekend also equals his best start this season, following his fourth-place starts in Las Vegas and Long Beach. He will start on the outside of row two and make his 121st Champ Car start when he takes the green flag tomorrow behind the wheel of the #8 LXN2/RSPORTS car. He has been the one that everyone has had their eyes on during the standing start practices at each of the testing sessions, so it is going to be interesting to see what he can do when the Champ Car's make history in Portland as the first event to utilize standing starts.
The team will have the usual 30-minute warm up session tomorrow morning, before the Champ Cars take to the grid at 12:15. The Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe's Sports and Outdoor will begin with a standing start at 1:00 p.m. local time (4:00 p.m. ET) on Sunday. The event can be seen live on ABC Sports and fans can also follow the RSPORTS team on the internet by logging onto www.champcar.ws and signing up for Race Director.
Justin Wilson #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone
"Hopefully we can get a nice clean start and get into the first corner with all the bits still on the car and go from there. Yeah, I wanted the point, and I wanted to prove my point as well. But at the same time, we had to still make sure we had a race car for tomorrow because there's times when you're sliding around and you can't see what's ahead of you. You don't want to do anything silly and run into the back of anyone or lift up too early and have someone run into the back of me. So I was just trying to pick my moments and put a good lap in when it was time."
Alex Tagliani #8 LXN2 Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone
"I am very pleased with the team, they did a good job. This morning we ran on old tires in the rain, so we were a little concerned with our morning result, but at the same time we knew new tires were going to make a huge difference. This afternoon, I think we had a pretty good car. I think that we could have had both RSPORTS car on the front row because on our good lap we were already two tenths quicker then our 1:11.9 lap, but another driver was slowing down on the track and remained in the driving line which cost me that quick lap. So it is a shame, but fourth is not bad and I think that we have a good car in the rain. We just have to keep working and scoring some good points for the championship."