The Lexmark Indy 300 pre-race quoteboard PAUL TRACY ( ...
The Lexmark Indy 300 pre-race quoteboard
PAUL TRACY (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "The road course at Surfers Paradise has had 12 different winners in the 12 years we've been racing there, so that tells you right away that things are totally unpredictable on that track. Just like the weather is unpredictable in Australia this time of year. We've run in ideal conditions in Australia, and we've run in just about the worst you'll ever encounter, like last year when the race had to be shortened because of all the rain. There were times in last year's race when it was so bad I couldn't see a thing, with the spray from the other cars. I felt fortunate to be on the podium when it was over. I'd definitely take another podium this year, or even better, a race win like I had at Surfers Paradise in 1995, because that would bring us another step closer to the championship. The approach I've had the last couple of races has been to just focus all of my attention on the race weekend coming up. I'm not even thinking about the championship, because if you go out and give it everything you've got, and your crew consistently gives you a great car, chances are everything else will take care of itself. All season long, one of the keys to PF Racing's success has been to be competitive right out of the chute and do really well in qualifying. The six times that we've won a spot on the front row, we've finished on the podium in five of the races. That's a formula that we're going to try to follow in Australia."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I like the Surfers Paradise street course and I really like to go to Australia. I think it is a good street course. It is a very long street course. There are a lot of fast straightaways and we are going to reach speeds close to 200 mph. It is a pretty fast track for a street course and there are good chicanes. It is a very difficult track. It is a very physical track when it is hot in Australia but I think the PacifiCare car will be really fast there and we can have a shot at winning the race. I want to win the Championship very bad and I know I need to win the race and have Paul (Tracy) not score many points to have a chance. Last year I was on pole on Friday and lost the pole by 1/100ths of a second to Cristiano on Saturday. I led the race last year after Cristiano made an early pit stop. Then they put out the yellow flag. I went from leading the race to a 14th place finish when they shortened the event because of the rain. It was very frustrating the way things happened but I hope we are going to have sun all weekend this year and that the PacifiCare car will win the race. I love Australia like all of the drivers do. I'm looking forward to spending the week there. There are nice things to do and a lot of nice girls. It's a pleasure for everybody to go to Australia."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (#2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I have never been in Australia or even that far away and I am looking forward to it. It is a pretty neat race track because most street courses are pretty short and this one is a minute, 30 seconds for one lap. I think I will like the track. Based on the races that I have seen on TV from there, it's going to be very exciting. Now that we have clinched the Rookie of the Year award, we are completely focused on finishing on the final podium (third place) in the Championship. We need to have a good result from Australia and also in Fontana."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I guess the two things on my wish list for Australia are drier track conditions than we had there last year and better brake performance on the car than we've been having for a good part of this season. The Surfers Paradise road circuit can be quite tough on a car, especially the braking system, with the chicanes and the deep braking zones. If we can get that problem resolved, I believe we can do well and maybe follow up last year's second-place finish in the rain with a race win this time. A different driver wins this race every year, so I figure this year it's my turn. Australia is certainly on my list of top racing venues, both for racing facilities and the enthusiasm of the fans. I remember last year, most of the huge crowd that came out to watch the race was still there at the end, even though the rain had made it a totally miserable day. I hope the conditions are more race-like this year, so we can reward these fans with a great show. In most of the races that have been run at Surfers Paradise, the outcome has been in doubt right up to the last lap, and I don't expect it to be any different this time. I just want to make sure I'm one of the drivers in a position to win it on that last lap."
MARIO DOMINGUEZ (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I think I can speak for my entire team as well as myself when I say we are highly motivated to do well in Australia. Coming off of our last two races - the win in Miami and the third place in Mexico City - we really feel like we are on a roll. We'll really be giving our best effort to give the fans in Australia a great show and a great race. It's unfortunate that last year they weren't able to see the best of what Champ Car has to offer but we are determined to do that this year."
ORIOL SERVIA (#20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team is really looking forward to going to Australia and getting back on the track. The last two races we have not achieved the results we wanted, but the team is very confident and we know we can win. We have worked hard all season and had some good results, but we want to finish off the season strong. The whole Visteon/Patrick Racing Team deserves a win and it would be great to get one in Australia then head to Fontana for the last race of the year with momentum. Australia is one of my favorite circuits in the whole series. It is a fast circuit and I really like the quick chicanes. The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team should have a good setup for Australia and I am looking forward to the race. The other thing that makes Australia such a great race is the atmosphere. The promoter does a fantastic job and the fans are knowledgeable and very friendly, which makes it one of the most enjoyable races we have. In fact, I am going to Australia early to help promote the race and do some site seeing with some of the other drivers and friends."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I am looking forward to going to Australia. It is a track that I really like, and it will be nice to go back there in one piece since I didn't leave that way last year. We've been strong on the street circuits and should be very strong here. The atmosphere around the event is fantastic, and it is a race that all of us look forward to each year."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Australia is a special place because of the great racing and exciting atmosphere. It is also where I met my wife, Bronte, so it will always be home and a special part of our lives. I enjoy driving on the track and look forward to a good weekend. It is very important for me and the Rocketsports team to do well there. We've had some bad luck the past few races and really need a boost in the series standings to reflect all the hard work we have put into this season. I have had some good finishes in Australia in the past, with a podium finish two years ago and sixth last year. I am looking to qualify well and hang in there for a good finish."
DARREN MANNING (#15 RAC/Walker Racing Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Since I joined the series in February the other drivers have been raving about what a great event this is which is why I'm going about a week early! It certainly seems to be one of the true gems on the schedule. I've traveled extensively in my racing career -- Japan, throughout Europe, Korea, the States -- but I've never been to Australia, so I'm really looking forward to this event. As far as the on-track goes, we've had some strong finishes on street courses all season and hopefully that will continue through to Australia."
MARIO HABERFELD (#34 Mi-Jack/Conquest Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I am looking forward to Australia. It is a place I have always wanted to visit. Especially to go for a race, that makes it even more enjoyable. I have heard that this race is one of the best and most heavily promoted. Apparently, the fans in Australia love motor racing. We get to go back to a street circuit where we have done well. I hope the car is quick. I am looking forward to a good race and good results. I am still hoping for 10th place in the Championship points, so we need good results."
ROBERTO MORENO (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I'm extremely happy to be able to race again in Australia. Not only is it one of my favorite places to visit, I've had some of my most memorable racing experiences there too; I scored my first point in Formula 1 on the street circuit in Adelaide and the last time I was in Surfers Paradise I had pole position for the Champ Car race. We are doing a good job this season of setting up the cars for the street circuits so I'm confident we'll have a good result in Surfers Paradise this year as well."
JIMMY VASSER (#12 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Australia is without a doubt my favorite race of the year and I am always excited to go back. Surfers Paradise was the site of my first Champ Car race in 1992, it was a great result, but what a place to start your Champ Car career. I've also won that race, so I have great memories. We had a good car last weekend, we made a lot of progress through the weekend. The Surfers track is really a fantastic street course, if you have a good car it is a lot of fun. I hope we do, I would love to do well there."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (#31 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I have heard so much about this event that I absolutely cannot wait to get to Australia. It will be my first trip, I am going early to do some promotional appearances for Ford and I am really excited. Mexico was absolutely unbelievable, a first-class event with incredible fan support and I hear Australia is the same way. In terms of the race, Mexico was a huge disappointment, because we were definitely headed for a top-five finish before that last pit-stop. We ended up setting the fastest lap of the race there at the end, I guess that was a small consolation. We ran strong all weekend, I am really excited about my new engineer David Brown, he gives me a lot of extra confidence in both the car and my driving. We are on the right track."
TIAGO MONTEIRO (#7 Fittipaldi-Dingman Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Australia is probably one of the greatest events of the season. I've heard a lot about it and am looking forward to it. I know the track is a street course, but it's supposed to be very quick; the type of track that suits me. It's a setup that I like, a great track and a great event. After the amazing result we had this past weekend and the last few races I'm confident. We just need to keep up the good work."
MIKA SALO (#27 PK Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I have heard so much about the Australia Champ Car event and am really looking forward to it. I am heading down there early with Kevin Kalkhoven and his friends to do a little sightseeing on the way. Obviously we are carrying good momentum into this race, with two top-five finishes in a row - and I've only done three races in a Champ Car. The PK Racing team and I are working well together, and I expect that we will continue our string of good results. Like I have said before, I am feeling a little bit of extra pressure because Kevin is Australian, and he has told me that he really wants a podium there. I will do my best!."
RODOLFO LAVIN (#5 Corona Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I've never been to Australia, so I'm really looking forward to the experience. The other drivers are always talking about what a great track and event it is, so I can't wait to experience it for myself. It's one of the few tracks on the schedule that I haven't had a chance to race at through the Champ Car Ladder System. I plan to unwind from the hectic week in Mexico City watching tapes of last year's Australia tape, so that I can start learning the circuit."
GEOFF BOSS (#11 Cross Pens Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "It will be my first time to Australia and I'm looking forward to it. I'll be arriving a week early to do some travel before the race week starts. I've heard that the track is the best street circuit that we'll run on so I'm anxious to get going and see what we can do."
GUALTER SALLES (#19 Alpina Dale Coyne Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "It is a great track and great place. I have been twice there and had a good time. The track is the best street course of the calendar and it's always fun to be there. Last time I was there was in 1999 and I finished 10th, so I hope to improve on that."