GLOCK TOP ROOKIE IN AUSTRALIA; MCDOWELL READY TO START HIS FIRST CHAMP CAR RACE AFTER FINAL QUALIFYING ON SATURDAY SURFERS PARADISE, Australia (October 22, 2005) - Final qualifying took place this afternoon in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, ...
GLOCK TOP ROOKIE IN AUSTRALIA; MCDOWELL READY TO START HIS FIRST CHAMP CAR RACE AFTER FINAL QUALIFYING ON SATURDAY
SURFERS PARADISE, Australia (October 22, 2005) - Final qualifying took place this afternoon in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia for tomorrow's Lexmark Indy 300 and Rocketsports Racing drivers, Timo Glock and Michael McDowell, may not be exactly where they hoped to be, but considering this is a difficult track, especially for rookies, tenth and sixteenth on the grid, respectively, is not too bad.
McDowell was the first of the two Rocketsports cars to head out in the #31 Commercial Defeasance/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone to qualifying this afternoon in front of a tremendous crowd of 90,265 race fans, with teammate Glock following shortly after in the #8 DHL Global Mail Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. On McDowell's second lap out, he brushed the wall and had to come in to the pits halting his first stint of qualifying to assess any damage to the car.
Once things checked out clear, McDowell returned to the 2.795-mile temporary street course to try to get in a good lap. He posted his best time of the day of 1:35.415 (105.455 mph, 169.713 kmh) on his tenth lap out. He came into the pits for new tires and went out for his last stint, only able to get in three more laps before the timed session concluded. He was unable to improve his time and will make his Champ Car debut starting on the outside of row eight in tomorrow's race.
Glock started off the afternoon strong during the 15-minute practices session of qualifying this afternoon. Only six laps out, the current Rookie-of-the-Year leader sat P3 with a time of 1:34.953.
Glock was struggling with the tires in the middle of the chicanes.&n bsp; They were getting bumped by all the cars on the track and would be in a different position every time he came back around. He ended up damaging two front wings trying hard to get in a good run this afternoon because of this tire obstacle. He improved his afternoon time slightly, posting his best lap of 1:34.554 (106.415 mph, 171.259 kmh) on his eleventh, and final, lap out.
The German will start on the grid in the tenth spot, making his fifth top-ten start in twelve events this season. He is the top starting rookie and will fight to earn valuable points in an effort to possibly wrap up the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year honors this weekend. He will need to leave this weekend with 35 points over Ronnie Bremer, and he currently leads the battle by 40 points.
The Rocketsports team will have one more chance to finalize the cars before tomorrow afternoon's race with a 30-minute warm up session. The green flag for Round 12 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will drop at 1:25 p.m. Sunday afternoon local Australian time. The race can be seen via tape delay in the United States on SPEED Channel, Sunday, October 23 at 4:30 p.m. ET, following a qualifying show which will begin at 4:00 p.m.
Timo Glock #8 DHL Global Mail/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone "Well it was difficult this afternoon to get in a good run. The tires in the middle of the first chicane kept moving and I would hit them damaging my wing every time. The DHL Global Mail car was not too bad today, however we were two seconds off the pace and I don't know why. It is strange, there is such a huge difference between the cars up on top, so some people have figured it out, while others are still trying to. It is difficult to say what is going on out there, I have no idea. We will have to work on finding a good setup for the car tomorrow and be consistent out there on track and in the pits. It will be a long and tricky race, so we will have to stay cool and see what we can do during the race to improve our position overall."
Michael McDowell #31Commercial Defeasance/ Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone "I made a mistake during my first run and clipped the front of the car. We lost that set of tires, which was a shame. By the time we got back things all fixed up and got back out there, we just could not get in a good lap. It is a bit frustrating to start 15th on the grid, but we will see what we can do tomorrow during the race and hope to finish in the top ten, if not higher. It will be a long race, being my first official Champ Car event, so I just hope to have a good, clean race and bring the car home with some points."