CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Team Australia Saturday report

RAIN PLAYS HAVOC WITH PORTLAND QUALIFYING Team Australia's Simon Pagenaud and Will Power have maintained sixth and seventh starting positions for tomorrow's Mazda Grand Prix of Portland after today's final qualifying session was affected by ...

RAIN PLAYS HAVOC WITH PORTLAND QUALIFYING

Team Australia's Simon Pagenaud and Will Power have maintained sixth and seventh starting positions for tomorrow's Mazda Grand Prix of Portland after today's final qualifying session was affected by rain.

Power was fourth in today's wet session while Pagenaud was 11th, but their times were obviously considerably slower than yesterday's because of the wet conditions.

Rookie Robert Doornbos was quickest in today's wet session ahead of Graham Rahal and will maintain his spot on the front row for the start of tomorrow's race beside yesterday's provisional polesitter Justin Wilson.

Both Team Australia drivers struggled for a clear lap in the terrible conditions which drastically reduced visibility.

That said, the team is confident that it has both a strong race package for wet or dry conditions.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY ...

Will Power - #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01

"We were really close today," said Power.

"We were just a few one hundredths off a front row spot, but unfortunately got caught in traffic.

"The Team Australia guys have worked hard and gave me a good car that was right up there. We just need to go back tonight and hope for better weather tomorrow."

Simon Pagenaud - #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01

"We made a lot of improvements from this morning, the Aussie Vineyards car was much better this afternoon, but unfortunately the visibility was so bad that everyone had to back up to get a clear lap," said Pagenaud.

"We only got one clear lap in which was decent, but not as fast as it should have been, but that's part of racing.

"The car is improving and that is the most important part. The car is still very enjoyable to drive. We can improve the car tonight and hopefully be faster for tomorrow."

Derrick Walker -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"Well it's a shame," said Walker.

"We had a really good dry set-up and a good wet one as well, but we just didn't get a clean race track.

"I think we could have been on pole and been on the front row, but 'woulda', 'coulda', 'shoulda' doesn't cut it and didn't.

"We are prepared for tomorrow. We have a really good dry set-up and a pretty good wet setup now and whatever happens, happens.

"I'm sure the guys will keep looking at our set-up and we'll see what we come up with overnight."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"Obviously the weather robbed us of the chance of being further up the grid," said Gore.

"The rain was a tough break for the team, which worked hard overnight to make the improvements needed.

"The first standing start will be interesting tomorrow and obviously there will be the variable of the weather conditions.

"Will showed again today he has the ability to handle almost anything thrown at him with his fourth fastest time."

STANDING START FOR PORTLAND

Champ Car history will be made as the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland will begin with a standing start at 1:00 pm Portland time on Sunday.

"It has been very successful in the Champ Car Atlantics and we believe it has been far better for the spectators," Champ Car Vice President of Operations Tony Cotman told Autosport.com

"If we want Atlantics to be a proper training ground for drivers coming into Champ Cars, the two series need to be doing the same thing.

"Additionally it means the cars are arriving at Turn 1 with less speed than they would after a rolling start, so there is more chance of the whole field getting through Turn 1."

The original plan was for standing starts to commence with the season-opener in Las Vegas, won by Team Australia's Will Power, but engine-mapping issues pushed the deadline back.

Cotman advised teams to use the seven-week gap between Rounds Three and Four to test their starting procedures as much as possible.

-credit: team aus

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Graham Rahal , Robert Doornbos , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud