Will Power encounters dÃ©jÃ vu as he scores his fourth career pole (third of the season) at the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton. The starting gate is now loaded with the competitors for the Canadian Triple Crown. The last time the points race...
Will Power encounters déjà vu as he scores his fourth career pole (third of the season) at the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton.
The starting gate is now loaded with the competitors for the Canadian Triple Crown.
The last time the points race was this close was 1999 when the season ended in a tie between Dario Franchitti and Juan Pablo Montoya.
Today's qualifying brought us consistent comments from drivers reflecting on the many incidents bringing out the red flags during the sessions in the past couple of days.
Will Power #5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone qualified for the pole today reminiscent of his 1st place qualifying position in Toronto, Ontario not just two weeks ago. Power set a new track record at the Rexall Speedway in 58.403 seconds 121.617 mph. (195.724 kph) surpassing Sebastien Bourdais. "We have had the speed here all weekend, I just hadn't been putting laps together," admitted Power. We haven't had a clear run. That was pretty much my first clear lap and we did what we needed to do. It's a good deal to pick up the extra championship point, but we have to do it in the race tomorrow.
"I have to say that Canada's been quite friendly to us the last three races, so I am looking forward to the race tomorrow. It will be interesting in the race tomorrow. I think in qualifying and practice, everyone's pushing a lot harder and that's why they're going off, trying to find a limit," added the Aussie. "In the race, it's a little bit different story, people saving fuel and being a little bit more conservative.
"The race for the championship basically starts this weekend and hopefully we can keep the momentum going and he right there at the end. It is always great to claim the pole for Team Australia, Aussie Vineyards and all our other sponsors and fans, but we have a lot of work ahead of us."
Qualifying fourth fastest today after holding the provisional pole in yesterday's qualifying round was Sebastien Bourdais #1 McDonalds Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone, "I don't particularly think that our car was handling better on the Bridgestone red tires. Obviously we had done a fairly good lap on the blacks. I think it was very close to the pole actually. So I was fairly happy with that. But, you know, it's not a big deal. I think there's a little balance difference. But the two sets are pretty close and work well here.
"Just a good day for us. I mean, we had a really good car in the 15 minutes, and it was going really well in the qualifying session. And just like Justin said, P.T. was just playing a little bit again in the last two laps and - well, pretty much the whole run, but the last two laps when it really mattered. And he backed up Bruno, and Bruno did me, and that was that. It was the last corner, so that ruined the last two laps and we had the (indiscernible) going on," said the three-time campion who will slot second on the grid due to posting the top speed on Friday.
"A little frustrating obviously because the team did a fantastic job and the car was great. But, you know, it's going to be a long day tomorrow and we'll see what happens."
Justin Wilson #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone who rounds out the top three for Sunday's grid gave his reflections, ".the car was feeling good. Just thank everyone at the #9 CDW car that's worked hard this weekend to make it quick. So very pleased with how it went. I think, like everyone in the field, was on a quicker lap and I caught Will in the last corner and lost a couple of 10ths. That lap was going to be quicker, but that's how it goes sometimes."
Dropping one position from his qualifying session yesterday was Graham Rahal #2 Medi | Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone who will start from fourth position. "It was a good day for the whole Medi | Zone team. The whole weekend has been solid. We've been third in every single session so far so. We're just happy to be less than a tenth of a second off pole. At the end of the day we know we had a lap that was quick enough to be on pole.
"I know drivers say this all the time we really did have a lap that was one-tenth and a half up right at the end," the rookie explained. "I just got into Turn 11 a little too hot and locked up the right front and went wide and lost the time. For sure we were really quick and definitely had a pole car but just didn't put it together. We hope that tomorrow will be a good event for the Medi | Zone team. The last airport circuit track in Cleveland was successful for us. We had a good run although the results don't show it. This weekend has been solid so maybe the airport circuits have been good to us."
Robert Doornbos #14 Team Minardi USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone, the current series leader, qualified 11th. "This was obviously a disappointing qualifying session for us. It started out with the overall feeling of the car improved as a result of changes we made during the morning practice session, but then on my second run this afternoon, on fresh reds, I encountered a shifting problem. This was later traced to the car's power supply, but it meant I had to pit before completing the run. It's not great to be starting from 11th on the grid, but it's definitely possible to get a podium from there, and that's what we'll be aiming for tomorrow."
Simon Pagenaud #15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone (Qualified 7th) expressed frustration after today's qualifying, "It has been a rough day. We've had a good Aussie Vineyards car all day long and I guess qualifying didn't go the way that we had wanted. We had a good car in the first stint with red tires. I did a decent lap, a 58.8, which was a P4, and when we went back out on track the red tires worked really well on one lap and then I got blocked in the last lap by Mr. Doornbos. I guess he still doesn't get the rules of Champ Car. I don't know what to say, it's just very disappointing because obviously we had a better car than seventh, because the car was much quicker than that. The whole crew has done a great job and we have a great race car for tomorrow. I expect that we will do good in the race and we can get back up there."
Canadian contender Paul Tracy #3 INDECK Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone (Qualified 14th) - "It's extremely frustrating, we just can't get the car right, we have no grip and we have no balance. We thought we had made some improvements in practice but then during qualifying I went out and the car was extremely loose, I spun on my first lap and had a pretty hard shunt. It knocked the wind out of me for a few seconds, I really just had no confidence on the car after that. My crew fixed the car and after the red flag we tried to improve our time but the car was just all over the place and we couldn't go any quicker. We really just have to put everything behind and us and go out and pick up a bunch of positions tomorrow."
A quick update on Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay by Touch-Megaspiera Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone): After making contact with the wall during Friday's qualifying, he complained of back pain and was sent to the hospital for precautionary x-rays and was released. Because of ongoing pain, he received a MRI this afternoon which shows edema of two thoracic vertebras which implies subtle bone injury. He will be unable to compete this weekend.
Although it may not be a wreath around the neck of the winning driver tomorrow, the winner will receive an Inuksuk which symbolizes leadership, achievement, direction and strength. The Inuksuk formation of stones were also known as "silent messengers". Inuksuk can point the best way home or may be an object of good fortune. Whoever claims the Inuksuk tomorrow will follow the Inuit legend of where judgments are made, celebration and festivals are held and where good fortune will be found. The Inuksuk is also the official logo for the Olympic Winter Games to be held in Vancouver, BC Canada in 2010.
We will see who holds the Inuksuk in their future tomorrow at the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton.