CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Team Australia race report

PAGENAUD FIFTH ON TOUGH DAY FOR POWER IN AUSTRALIA Team Australia has endured mixed fortunes in the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia today. Frenchman Simon Pagenaud scored his sixth top five finish for the season...


Team Australia has endured mixed fortunes in the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia today.

Frenchman Simon Pagenaud scored his sixth top five finish for the season with fifth in the home event for the green and gold Aussie Vineyards team, while local hero Will Power had his chances dashed early in the race.

Pagenaud drove a sensible race, conserving fuel the entire journey. Strategy proved difficult for Pagenaud as he had no radio communication with his Team Australia team right from the start.

The crew on the #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01 made all the correct calculations, with Pagenaud running out of fuel on the cool down lap after taking the chequered flag in fifth place.

Power started from pole position and made the best of the standing start, the first time such a procedure has started a Champ Car race on the Gold Coast.

Power pulled a lead in the opening laps, only for a caution period on lap 10 to compress the field and lead most cars to make their first pit stop.

Power was released slightly early from his pit box after the completion of his stop for tyres and fuel, resulting in contact with the car of David Martinez.

The contact caused slight damage to the front right suspension on the #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01, forcing the team to bring in Power for a second time under caution to make repairs to the car's steering.

On lap 19 Power's race was done, when he made contact with Katherine Legge entering Falken Corner as he tried to forge his way back up the order.

The two cars touched, breaking the rear suspension on Power's car and sending him backwards into the tyre wall. The impact injured the wrist of the 26-year-old and Power will visit hospital this evening for precautionary x-rays.

Sebastien Bourdais confirmed his fourth-consecutive Champ Car World Series title with victory in the Lexmark Indy 300 ahead of Justin Wilson and Bruno Junqueira. Bourdais' win makes him the first driver to win the Gold Coast event twice.

The 2007 Champ Car World Series hosts its final round in Mexico City, Mexico in two weeks time.


Will Power -- #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01

"Once again in the first stint we had to pit under yellow," said Power.

"All the cars are compressed. There's a lot of mayhem in the pit lane. Unfortunately I got sent early. Just a simple mistake. The guy lifted the lollypop and sent us into another car, which bent the steering arm and then we were on the back foot.

"From that point on, the steering wasn't straight. The suspension was slightly bent. So the car wasn't behaving exactly how it should.

"Then trying to charge back through the field, I got a run on Katherine Legge. I guess the car stepped out a little bit and grabbed her back wheel and threw me into the wall.

"It was a disappointing day. You know, once again, the same as last year, we have the car, had everything in place to win the race, but, you know, just bad luck. These things happen.

"I feel disappointed for all the fans that came out to watch us today. I feel disappointed for Craig Gore, as well. Unfortunately he couldn't be here. You know, we'll lift above it, move on. We've got to race in Mexico and we'll try and win that one.

"I think my wrist will be fine for Mexico. I've got to get an x-ray. My physio is pretty sure it's not broken. It's pretty sore. Hopefully it's good.

"We just got let go early in the pits. Just a mistake. Nothing we can do about it. The guy that made the mistake is usually flawless with his work. It happens. We're all human. We're not computers. It's just one of those things. You can't go around blaming people. It's just what happened."

Simon Pagenaud -- #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01

"We had a very good Aussie Vineyards car today," said Pagenaud.

"The car was just fantastic all race. Just the race is not as good as it could be, because we were in fuel save mode, so all race I just saved fuel and did not push a hundred percent.

"But I was really pleased because we worked really well on that car during the practice and in qualifying. In the race I had a really good car. It was very fun to drive.

"I was also very pleased to see so many Team Australia flags on the side of the track. I could even see it when driving. It was really nice. It's great to feel so much support coming here.

"I'm disappointed for Will. He had the pace to win today. But we're going to try to come back again to win next year.

"I think we have been stronger and stronger every race. Today was a very good day. I mean, I have not been doing any mistake. The race car was better than it has ever been this year.

"I really understand the racing now, really understand the strategy and everything. So I think next year, you know, by stepping back during the winter, when I'm going to jump in the car again, I think I should be ready for be a contend for the championship next year.

"That was really the goal this year and to be able to win next year, so I think we have a chance.

"As a rookie this place is frightening. That was my first word to be really honest. That was my first word when I jumped out of the car after the first session.

"Frightening because it's really fast. I have driven on Monaco before, but it's nothing compared to Surfers Paradise. I had a blast.

"It's just at the beginning you need to be confident, trust your car. When you handle it really well, it's so much fun to drive. I would be very glad to come back next year."

Derrick Walker -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"We certainly came here with a well thought-out plan," said Walker.

"A lot of work went into engineering the cars, getting the car we thought we needed to win with. I think we actually achieved that part of our mission.

"But as it played out, we did make a mistake. The rest is history. I think we take away from this that we've come a long way on this program, which is really only into its third year pretty well. So we're getting stronger as each year goes by. But still today's result, we had a car to win and there's no excuse.

"We'll go back and regroup and learn something from this day, come back and hopefully win next year. There's obviously the potential there to do very well. We've just got to get a few bugs sorted out."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"We made a huge mistake in the pit lane and that cost us," said Gore.

"Will (Power) was pushing on as hard as he could and it all came apart.

"It is a real shame.

"We did everything we could to deliver Queensland and Australia today, but things did not fall our way.

"While we are shattered with today's result, we have to congratulate Simon on a terrific drive in his rookie year here.

"But we will be back and we will keep giving this everything we possibly can."

-credit: team australia

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Bruno Junqueira , Sébastien Bourdais , Katherine Legge , David Martinez , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud