CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America: Bridgestone Saturday report

Clarke's 'Slick' Decision Holds up for 1st Bridgestone Pole Position Dan Clarke and his CTE Racing-HVM team made the bold decision to strap on Bridgestone dry-condition ("slick") tires in the final minutes of provisional qualifying Friday and...

Clarke's 'Slick' Decision Holds up for 1st Bridgestone Pole Position

Dan Clarke and his CTE Racing-HVM team made the bold decision to strap on Bridgestone dry-condition ("slick") tires in the final minutes of provisional qualifying Friday and the series rookie turned the fastest lap. That move held up today when wet conditions hindered lap times in final qualifying, allowing Clarke to collect his first Bridgestone Pole Position Award.

Clarke earned $5,000 and a black crystal trophy from Bridgestone, with the tire supplier donating another $2,500 to the Hole in the Wall Camps in his honor. With the mix of wet and dry conditions so far, teams have been able to use the Bridgestone slicks and rain tires, though no one has logged substantial laps on the Bridgestone alternate slicks. Both Clarke and fellow front-row starter Sebastien Bourdais feel confident in whatever Potenzas they need to use in Sunday's race.

From Dan Clarke, #14 CTE Racing-HVM Ford/Lola/Bridgestone: "The Bridgestone rain tires are good, they're very consistent, they don't seem to change much all throughout the session. They're really gripping and you can actually have some fun with it, which is rare in the wet. Sometimes you just have to tiptoe about."

From Sebastien Bourdais, #1 McDonald's/Newman-Haas Racing Ford/Lola/Bridgestone: "Rain tires are made to be used on wet track, not a drying track like yesterday. Today was about appropriate (conditions for the rain tires). They're giving us consistency and good grip. When it's really, really raining, it becomes more of an issue of visibility than the grip of the tire. This morning, we were really happy with the slicks (in dry conditions), so whatever happens (in the race) we should prepared with the Bridgestone tires."

Bridgestone Tire Performance Summary: Bridgestone Motorsport brought new tires for both its dry-condition specifications this weekend, although teams used both during the open test at Road America last month. The slicks fall into the most durable range of Bridgestone road-course compounds. The rain tire choice for this weekend is also the more durable of the two that Bridgestone currently produces.

From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Dan Clarke made the gamble yesterday to go to Bridgestone slick tires and it paid off handsomely today with his first pole position. We applaud the ingenuity of Dan and his team. It shows again the importance of tire decisions in this series. We'd also like to applaud the efforts of CARA Charities in helping raise money for Cristiano da Matta's recovery. We donated numerous items for Friday night's silent auction and, combined with the getaway weekend to Road America that was auctioned on eBay this week, nearly $4,000 has been raised for that fund from Bridgestone items alone. Thank you to everyone in the Champ Car community who helped."

Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 61 to 63 degrees track and were a constant 65 degrees ambient (F).

Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 16 to 17 degrees track and were a constant 18 degrees ambient (C).

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sébastien Bourdais , Daniel Clarke , Cristiano da Matta