CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Team Australia race report

POWER RETAINS SECOND IN CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER FOURTH PLACE IN PORTLAND Team Australia drivers Will Power and Simon Pagenaud have both scored solid results to retain their respective championship positions in the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix ...


Team Australia drivers Will Power and Simon Pagenaud have both scored solid results to retain their respective championship positions in the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway in Oregon today.

Power remains second in the championship standings after finishing fourth in Portland, while his rookie team-mate Pagenaud retains 10th spot in the overall points after a solid eighth place run in today's Round 4 of the Champ Car World Series.

Today's race was the first with a standing start and it was Power who perfected the art better than most, achieving a great start to jump from seventh to fourth before the first corner.

Entering the final stages of the race the Australian was in third position and eyeing his third podium result for the season in the #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01.

But in the final round of pit stops Robert Doornbos passed Power and the Toowoomba-born driver was unable to catch and pass the Dutchman around the 1.964-mile (3.161-kilometre) road course.

Power encountered radio problems in the second half of the race, allowing Doornbos to beat Power on strategy, as Power and the Team Australia team were unable to communicate.

Pagenaud started from sixth and finished a credible eighth in the #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01, winning a late-race battle with rookie rival Graham Rahal.

Pagenaud's chances of a second-consecutive top five finish were dashed at the first corner when Dan Clarke made an ambitious move down the inside of the Frenchman, forcing Pagenaud to negotiate the escape road to avoid contact.

Will Power -- #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01

"We obviously got a pretty good start off the line," said Power.

"I think a couple of people were bogged down, so that helped. From then on it was just trying to keep Sebastian behind, which we did successfully.

"After that the radio went down and that basically cost us the podium, because we didn't really know to save fuel or what to do. Now we just have to get on that, but apart from that it was a great race and a good battle in the start.

"I just have to thank the Team Australia guys, they did a fantastic job and I wouldn't have been able to battle if it weren't for them.

"Now we just need to keep the pace up and go for it in Cleveland."

Simon Pagenaud -- #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01

"Our launch at the start was pretty good and then Dan Clarke made a bansai move again, as usual," said Pagenaud.

"I saw that he was too fast going in and I didn't have any choice I had to shortcut the chicane or he would nail me and basically that ruined my race.

"The good point is that the car was fantastic. We had the second fastest lap of the race and it was really good. The problem is we need to be up front for the start of the race.

"I'm very happy, really enjoyed the race, had great fuel saving and we are really improving. I just can't wait for Cleveland."

Derrick Walker -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"It was a brilliant start for Will," said Walker.

"Outside of our radio communication problems, the car went around really well throughout the entire race. Obviously at different times it didn't have enough speed to win the race, but I think we had a podium car and probably if anything, the lack of communications didn't help us.

"But the car ran flawlessly throughout the race and we got the best points that we could.

"Simon, he really got caught by the turn one incident, which was no fault of his own and to bring it back around here, I think he did a fantastic job given the fact that minutes before the start of the race the boys were bolting an engine in from an engine problem this morning.

"All in all, it was good to come away with what we had, is it good enough, probably not, but given the circumstances it was a good team effort."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"Today proved the professionalism of our drivers and the Team Australia crew," said Gore.

"While not everything went our way in Portland, we kept working at it and both drivers came away with solid results.

"Will is a tremendous talent and today we got to see another skill of his as he gained three spots off the grid at the new standing start.

"Unfortunately when Will lost radio contact with the team it made it very difficult for him to make the most of fuel strategy and his Power-To-Pass button, but he soldiered on and did very well to bring it home just short of the podium.

"Simon's race was hampered by Clarke's move at the first corner, but he fought on and got some important points for the Rookie of the Year title.

"The pace of the Aussie Vineyards cars this weekend was very good but things just did not quite go our way on race day. But we can look to Cleveland in two weeks knowing the everyone did a great job at Portland and that the potential is there for great things."

-credit: taus

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Graham Rahal , Robert Doornbos , Will Power , Daniel Clarke , Simon Pagenaud