CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America: CTE Racing HVM Saturday report

British Rookie Dan Clarke Secures First Champ Car Pole Position at Road America Road America, WI -- Dan Clarke achieved another milestone today, earning the first pole position of his Champ Car career. Clark is the first rookie to start on the...

British Rookie Dan Clarke Secures First Champ Car Pole Position at Road America

Road America, WI -- Dan Clarke achieved another milestone today, earning the first pole position of his Champ Car career. Clark is the first rookie to start on the pole position since Sebastien Bourdais won the pole in Australia in 2003.

The race fans and Champ Car teams enjoyed a sunny and dry morning at Road America; Nelson Philippe set the eighth fastest time during the morning practice while Clarke finished 14th.

The grey skies returned just after the noon hour and the rain arrived just in time for the final qualifying session. In effort to take advantage of what was left of a dry line on the track, the majority of the field including Nelson Philippe elected to run their first qualifying stint at the drop of the green flag. It was a waiting game for Clarke who secured a front row starting spot with his provisional pole yesterday. He waited to see if anyone could better his Friday time, but it became apparent about half way through the session that he would likely be the pole sitter as the rain became heavier and heavier throughout the session. Clarke won the Bridgestone pole position as the session checkered, giving CTE Racing HVM their first pole position since Ryan Hunter-Reay started first at Milwaukee in 2004. It was CTE HVM's first pole position on a road course.

The heavy rains deterred Philippe's opportunity to improve his position; he remained 16th and will start the 51-lap sprint from there. After a good run this morning, the result was all the more disappointing, but the team feels they have a respectable set-up and are prepared for either wet or dry conditions, depending on what mother nature brings.

Dan Clarke: "What a weekend! It's brilliant to be on pole for tomorrow, although it hasn't really sunk in yet. Everyone on the team deserves this, it's been great teamwork all season and I am pleased that the CTE HVM team can see one of their cars in pole position. I'll be aiming to keep it that way right through the race and that's where the hard work will start tomorrow. I think it'll be a real advantage if the weather is bad tomorrow and I'm ahead of the pack with all the spray it creates. Ideally, we can stay at the front and control it from there, but as we all know, it's very competitive out on the track, so I'm going to concentrate on my race strategy with the team and let it unfold. I cracked the top ten with the extra point yesterday, now I want to vault up the rankings with a good race tomorrow. We're closing the gap on the Roshfrans rookie of the year lead and it's still my goal to get that title, so we'll be fighting for all the points we can tomorrow."

Nelson Philippe: "I am pissed off to be starting 16th. We needed a dry run out there today and it just didn't go our way. Coming into the weekend, I said my goal was to work on qualifying and make sure we secure a strong starting position. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I definitely have the championship standings on my mind and I have a lot of work to do tomorrow as I carefully work my way through the field to earn as many points as possible to secure my fourth place position in the championship."

Keith Wiggins: "It's was great to retain the pole today and it adds to the great progress that Dan has made this year. We've made steady progress all year with both drivers so the important thing is that tomorrow we can ensure we get Nelson a good result and build on his championship standing and that we can finish where we start with Dan to attack the rookie of the year standings."

-credit: cte

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay , Sébastien Bourdais , Nelson Philippe , Dan Clarke