CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Team Australia Friday report

TEAM OZ DRIVERS BOTH IN TOP SEVEN AT PORTLAND Team Australia's Will Power and Simon Pagenaud have both finished in the top seven after the first day of qualifying for this weekend's Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland in Oregon. As track...

TEAM OZ DRIVERS BOTH IN TOP SEVEN AT PORTLAND

Team Australia's Will Power and Simon Pagenaud have both finished in the top seven after the first day of qualifying for this weekend's Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland in Oregon.

As track conditions changed through the day so did both of the Aussie Vineyards DP01 chassis.

Pagenaud, who won last year's Atlantic championship for Team Australia, qualified sixth with a lap time of 58.448.

Power ran strong in the warm-up session, but unfortunately didn't make the right changes to his car and qualified seventh with a time of 58.469.

Today's qualifying was topped by Englishman Justin Wilson ahead of rookie Robert Doornbos and three-time champion Sebastien Bourdais.

Paul Tracy the 2003 Series Champion, struggled in his return after missing the last two races due to injury. The Canadian failed to complete a lap in the morning session after making contact with the wall.

The Forsythe Championship Racing crew was forced to go to its backup car for qualifying and Tracy was only able to muster the 13th best time.

The final qualifying session will be held tomorrow morning.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--..

Simon Pagenaud - #15 AUSSIE VINEYARDS TEAM AUSTRALIA DP01

"Definitely a change from last year, the Champ Cars are very different from the Atlantic cars, they are much quicker," said Pagenaud.

"It's like driving a truck in the corners compared to the Atlantic car, but it's very fast and very enjoyable to drive around this circuit.

"We really improved the Aussie Vineyards car from this morning. I was quite happy to see that we were P2 on black tires, but we didn't find the right set-up for the reds and unfortunately we didn't improve our lap time.

"We are going to work hard tonight and I'm sure tomorrow will be a better day."

Will Power - #5 AUSSIE VINEYARDS TEAM AUSTRALIA DP01

"We are trying to find a good balance is very difficult around this circuit," said Power.

"We went from one extreme to the other between the two sets of tires today.

"We have a good car and hopefully it's dry tomorrow and we will comeback and find a good compromise, between the two cars.

"We have different balances and different setups, surely between us we can come up with something good."

Derrick Walker -- Team Australia co-owner

"In the first part of qualifying we were in a better place than we ended up at the end of the session," said Walker.

"The changes we made weren't in the right direction for Will and we needed to rethink those changes and comeback and revisit that.

"I don't think we are as far off as the positions show.

"As for Simon, he was pretty quick in the first half of qualifying, but not entirely happy with the car.

"We need to go back and look at where we are and what would we learn from that and when we look at that it will give us a better idea for tomorrow."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"Not an easy day at the office for the team, but one which taught everyone involved a thing or two," said Gore.

"You just need to keep pushing the envelope in this game.

"As Derrick said, we are not that far away and I am sure the talented group that we have working on the program will enable both cars to be a little further up the grid tomorrow if the weather is kind to us.

"It's just great to have the cars back out there after a break of several weeks."

-credit: taus

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Paul Tracy , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud