RAIN AFFECTS POSTIVE RESULTS FOR ROCKETSPORTS RACING ON FRIDAY DOWN UNDER SURFERS PARADISE, Australia (October 21, 2005) - It did not matter what time of day it was today in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia, the rain came down...
RAIN AFFECTS POSTIVE RESULTS FOR ROCKETSPORTS RACING ON FRIDAY DOWN UNDER
SURFERS PARADISE, Australia (October 21, 2005) - It did not matter what time of day it was today in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia, the rain came down periodically and played a major factor in today's on track results during Rocketsports Racing's first day of preparations for Sunday's Lexmark Indy 300 as rookies Michael McDowell and Timo Glock finish the day with an optimistic outlook, but the results did not reign as high.
McDowell took his first laps behind the wheel of the #31 Commercial Defeasance/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone on an official Champ Car race weekend today around the 2.795-mile temporary street course on the streets of Surfers Paradise. Not only did he have to get acquainted with the 12-turn circuit, he had to do it under unlikely conditions - rain. Finishing the morning in the ninth spot, the young American's biggest challenge during the first practice session was braking. He took it easy during that session just trying to learn the course.
Rolling out this afternoon, McDowell partook in his first qualifying session. Just prior to the afternoon session, the rain came down hard leaving a very wet and slippery track for the first round of qualifying for Round 12 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. When the green flag waved to commence the official timing of the session, McDowell and teammate Glock headed out early to try and get in a few good laps before the rain started to fall again.
Running on rain tires, McDowell tried to get in a good lap, but was unable to do so before the tires were all used up towards the end of the session. Posting his best time of the day of 1:49.870 (91.581 mph, 147.385 kmh) McDowell finished the day in the 13th spot. Towards the end of the session the track was almost completely dry, as McDowell and the rest of 18-car field headed into pit lane to but on slick tires, in hopes of one last run to improve his overall time.
Just as he rolled into his pit box, Glock spun on course and brought out a red flag. The Rocketsports team decided to change McDowell's tires back to the rain set because he would not have enough time to get the slicks up to temperature to get in one last run. The green flag came back out with just under three minutes left in the session, which was not enough time for McDowell to improve his end-of-the-day result of 13th.
Glock was frustrated when he stepped out of the car this afternoon because he knew he had a solid car that would have put him in the top three, if not the pole. He played a bit of a gamble, coming in for slick tires earlier than the rest of the field to run his last four allotted laps of provisional qualifying as the track finished drying. He pushed a little to hard, braking late as he headed into Turn Three causing him to lock up the rear of the #8 DHL Global Mail Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone and brushing the tires with his front wing causing minor damage.
Just before that incident, the German brought out a red flag after getting sideways in Turn One and stalling. He was penalized for bringing out the red during a qualifying session and lost his fastest lap of the session, which he had posted on his eleventh lap out, a time of 1:49.267, which had him sitting in the fourth spot. He finished the day 19th overall after his second best lap time of 1:51.479 (90.259 mph, 145.258 kmh) revealed his final position on the timing and scoring charts.
The Rocketsports crew will head back out tomorrow morning for another practice session to prepare for final qualifying, which will determine the starting grid for Sunday's race, at 1:45 p.m. local time Saturday afternoon.
Timo Glock #8 DHL Global Mail/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone "I gambled a bit this afternoon towards the end of the session because the track was pretty much dry. I felt that I had a chance to put the DHL Global Mail car in the top three, so I pushed really hard during my last laps of the first qualifying session. On the lap that I spun, I went easy through Turn One where it was still a bit wet. Then I pushed hard going through Turns Three and Four. I braked late, which caused my back tires to lock up. I touched the tires and did a little damage to the front wing. I gave up the chance to put Rocketsports in the top three this afternoon. I am sure we could have done it; everything seemed just right with the car. I look forward to tomorrow because I am pretty confident with the car."
Michael McDowell #31Commercial Defeasance/ Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone "Well, during our first round of qualifying, we went out early in the #31 Commercial Defeasance car to get in at least one good lap before the rain started again. However, later on that hurt us because we burned up the rain tires before we could really get in a good lap. But that is ok, tomorrow is the day that really counts and I feel that we are on track. I am having a lot of fun out there, and starting to get real comfortable with the track, car, and team. So, things are all coming together, and I couldn't ask for anything more. I look forward to getting back out there and improving our times from today."