YOUNG AUSSIE FOURTH IN CHAMP CAR QUALIFYING Team Australia had its best start to a round of the Champ Car World Series at the Portland International Raceway today. Rookie points leader Will Power was the surprise of the field, logging the ...
YOUNG AUSSIE FOURTH IN CHAMP CAR QUALIFYING
Team Australia had its best start to a round of the Champ Car World Series at the Portland International Raceway today.
Rookie points leader Will Power was the surprise of the field, logging the fourth-best time with a 59.160-second (119.513 mph) qualifying lap in his Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola.
Power, from Toowoomba in Queensland, actually led the session through the first 10 minutes, but not satisfied with that, went out and hung up his best time on the last of his 13 laps.
Power's Team Australia team mate Alex Tagliani was equally impressive, claiming the fifth position in the opening-day order with a time of 59.275 seconds (119.281 mph), despite being plagued with a few engine gremlins through the day.
Armed with a new driver's suit, a new teammate and a new outlook on racing, A.J. Allmendinger went out and set a new season-high for himself in the first round of qualifying for Sunday's G.I. Joe's Grand Prix.
Allmendinger, who moved this week to Forsythe Championship Racing after running all of his Champ Car career with RuSPORT, used the red-rimmed alternate Bridgestone Potenzas to steal the first-day pole from championship leader Sebastien Bourdais.
Paul Tracy took the third spot with a best time of 59.121 seconds (119.592 mph).
Tracy, like Bourdais, set his best time on his first set of tires, and both drivers have two sets of the Bridgestone alternates at their disposal for Saturday's final qualifying.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--..
Will Power - #5 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola
"I'm really happy with my position at the moment. The session went really well because we know we have good car and we were able to come away with great data to work with for the rest of the weekend," said Power.
"The car was did really well on the red tires, we just didn't get a clear run, there were only three minutes left to go and everyone went out on the same time, so that made it a bit more difficult, but at least everyone else was in the same boat.
"My engineers, along with the whole Team Australia crew, have been great. They made some really good changes after the first session, so tomorrow should be a good run."
Alex Tagliani - #15 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola
"I feel great right now, I'm really happy with our day and the Aussie Vineyards car," said Tagliani.
"We had some issues with the engine this morning it was not very good, so we didn't have great runs. "This afternoon in qualifying we were having the same problems, so I was getting really concerned and all of a sudden we fixed it.
"The car performed a lot better and we had a really good first run. I'm really looking forward to starting tomorrow with a fresh sheet of paper and working on improving our position."
DERRICK WALKER -- CO-OWNER TEAM AUSTRALIA
"Overall we had a pretty good result today," said Walker.
"We have been here a few times now with this chassis and I think we showed our progress today, although we still have a few bugs to iron out."
CRAIG GORE -- CO-OWNER TEAM AUSTRALIA
"Derrick and the boys have obviously starting to get a good handle of Portland and the times indicate that," said Gore.
"It was important for Alex to have a solid run today after the last couple of races and we certainly want to keep Will at the top of that rookie of the year table."