CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Conquest Racing Friday report

Mi-Jack Conquest Racing drivers Wilson and Philippe make big improvements during qualifying in Australia Surfers Paradise, Australia (22 October 04) Mi-Jack Conquest Racing drivers Justin Wilson and Nelson Philippe both improved their lap ...

Mi-Jack Conquest Racing drivers Wilson and Philippe make big improvements during qualifying in Australia

Surfers Paradise, Australia (22 October 04) Mi-Jack Conquest Racing drivers Justin Wilson and Nelson Philippe both improved their lap times from the morning practice during the first of two qualifying sessions for the Lexmark Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise to net 10th and 15th, respectively, on the provisional grid. Wilson and Philippe have come up to speed quickly during the first day of running in their first visit to the 2.795-mile temporary street circuit, and will have the chance to improve their spots on the grid in Saturday's final qualifying session.

Wilson, who made his Formula One debut in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia, is enjoying his racing return to the land down under and has found the track very satisfying, but he very much wants to move himself up to the front of the grid for Sunday's race.

"I'm pleased with the progress we've made today, and I am getting a better handle on the fast way around this track," said Wilson. "The circuit is very challenging, but I am enjoying it. Even though we improved considerably this afternoon, we are going to have to keep working, as we still have some time to find in the car to be up front, so we'll just put our heads down and come up with something for tomorrow."

The race weekend is also the first visit to this track for teammate Philippe, who holds the record as being the youngest ever driver to race in Champ Car at just seventeen years old. Nelson showed improvement in the qualifying, slashing nearly a second off of his fastest time from the morning practice, but is looking to keep progressing through the weekend and improve upon his career-best tenth place finish from the last round in Las Vegas.

Philippe set the fastest times in the early segments of the thirty-five minute qualifying session before pitting to make some adjustments on the car. His luck ran a bit short, though, as he waited until the closing moments to make another run, only to have a competitor end the session with a red flag.

"The car was much better this afternoon-everywhere around the track," said Philippe. "We worked on improving the car under braking, and I am also much faster through the chicanes, so it has given me a lot more confidence. Of course, the red flag came out and ended the session on my fastest lap! We'll get another chance to move up tomorrow in the final qualifying, so I'll be working with my engineers and with Justin to come up with something for tomorrow."

1991 Indy Lights Champion Eric Bachelart started Conquest Racing in 1997 to compete in the Indy Lights series, scoring a podium finish with driver Christophe Tinseau in the team's first season. Conquest Racing competed in the next four seasons in Indy Lights, winning races with Felipe Giaffone and Kristian Kolby. Mike Lanigan, President of Mi-Jack Products, an intermodal Chicago-based company became a co-owner in 2002. Mi-Jack Conquest Racing contested the 2002 Indy Racing League season with rookie Laurent Redon, netting a podium finish in just the third race of the season and clinching the Rookie of the Year award.

Mi-Jack Conquest racing rejoined the Champ Car family in 2003, stepping up to the Champ Car World Series with Brazilian Mario Haberfeld and scoring eleven top-ten finishes despite competing with a Reynard. The team is proud to be contesting its second season in the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford, with rookie drivers Justin Wilson and Nelson Philippe.

-mjcr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Justin Wilson , Felipe Giaffone , Christophe Tinseau , Laurent Redon , Nelson Philippe , Kristian Kolby
Teams Conquest Racing