The Joys of Going to Australia Indianapolis, Indiana, October 19, 2006 -- The penultimate round of the 2006 Champ Car World Series season is taking place next weekend on the streets of Surfers Paradise in Queensland, Australia and the ...
The Joys of Going to Australia
Indianapolis, Indiana, October 19, 2006 -- The penultimate round of the 2006 Champ Car World Series season is taking place next weekend on the streets of Surfers Paradise in Queensland, Australia and the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team is packed up and ready to race in the land down under. Andrew Ranger and rookie Charles Zwolsman are hot off a double top-ten finish in Elkhart Lake and both drivers plan on keeping the team's success going in Australia on the 2.795-mile temporary street course, after a quick game of beach volleyball, of course.
While Ranger will try and capitalize on his experience from last year, Charles Zwolsman will have to learn a new track and how to cope with all the... off-track distractions. To get "Chachi", as he is likeably nicknamed within the team, prepared for his trip down under and so he knows what to expect before he gets there, a quick survey was conducted around the race shop to find out what Australia is all about.
And the survey says... ladies, parties, and fun! It might be fun for most people but the Team Manager's first thoughts about Australia were "boxes, manifests and paper work". So once everything is packed and shipped away and you survived the 15 hour flight, that's when the fun really begins, right? For the fans, yes... for the crew it's work, work and more work, in order to keep the success going!
At the last race at Road America, Charles Zwolsman put in his best qualifying performance of the season, with a third place on the grid, and his best result of the season, with a seventh place finish. The Dutchman has been improving with every race. He has finished in the top-ten in the last six races and has topped his Champ Car personal best finishes in the last two races. The Dutchman also moved up to third in the Rookie of the Year standings and to 14th in the Championship. Zwolsman was already looking forward to his trip to Australia and after hearing the results of the team's non-scientific survey the 2005 Atlantic Champion is now a little more anxious.
"From what I hear, I will see some very nice ladies and kangaroos, but I also want to see the checkered flag! We have been doing very well in our last races and I am confident we can keep our string of top-ten finishes alive. We did well on street courses this season and I think we have a good car for the race in Australia. With only two races left it is important to do well and to end the season on a high note."
Andrew Ranger dealt well with the "off-track distractions" last season. He moved up from his 17th place on the starting grid to finish a strong tenth, it was his fifth top-ten finish that season. So far this year the 19-year-old has accumulated more points than all of last season and he has eight top-ten finishes in 12 races. He has also qualified in the top-ten in the last six races. With two races to go, Ranger sits 11th in the point standings, only six points behind the eighth place of Oriol Servia. He is looking to next weekend to move ahead in the points.
"Australia was a lot of fun last year and I'm really excited about going back again this year. The fans are the best and the atmosphere surrounding the race is like nowhere else. It's one of the best races on the schedule. It's a track that is fast and great to race on and being near the beach makes it even more special," says Ranger. "Performance wise, I want to continue finishing in the top-ten and picking up as many points as possible. We had a decent race at Road America with a couple of unfortunate incidents but in the end it was a good result, so if we can carry the momentum from there we should have a good weekend."
Ranger also wanted to give Zwolsman some advice about his trip to Australia. "He definitely has to play beach volleyball with the Miss Indy contestants on the Wednesday. That was fun last year. I think the best part of my trip to Australia was the track walk on the Thursday though, there was a lot to see!"
While the fans are partying and having fun, the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team will be hard at work getting ready for the 13th race of the season. The Lexmark Indy 300 takes place on October 21, 2006 at 11:10 p.m. eastern and will be broadcast on SPEED TV on tape-delay at 3:30 p.m. eastern October 22, 2006.
-credit: mi-jack conquest racing