CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Team Australia Saturday report

WILL POWER DELIVERS TEAM AUSTRALIA ITS FIRST CHAMP CAR POLE POSITION Will Power has again brought the Australian fans to their feet by claiming pole position for the Lexmark Indy 300 today on the Gold Coast, bringing Team Australia its first ...

WILL POWER DELIVERS TEAM AUSTRALIA ITS FIRST CHAMP CAR POLE POSITION

Will Power has again brought the Australian fans to their feet by claiming pole position for the Lexmark Indy 300 today on the Gold Coast, bringing Team Australia its first ever Champ Car pole.

Power earned Team Australia its first Bridgestone Pole Award since the creation of the outfit by Craig Gore and Derrick Walker at the start of 2005. The pole is the first for Walker since Gil de Ferren claimed pole in the Walker Racing Reynard for the Molson Indy Toronto on 17 July 1999.

Power's first Champ Car pole came in emphatic fashion as the Australian again topped qualifying today. However it was Power's time from yesterday's qualifying session that proved the fastest time of the two sessions.

The young driver from Toowoomba in Queensland was assured the accolade of becoming the first Australian since 1985 to start on the front row of a Champ Car race after being fastest yesterday.

Power earned a further point by setting the fastest time in today's session and is now equal sixth with Bruno Junqueira in the championship on 177 points, as well as extending his lead in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year standings to nine points over Dan Clarke.

He then went one better by finishing today's session fastest in the #5 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola, becoming the first Australian driver to start a Champ Car race from pole since Geoff Brabham earned pole for the Los Angeles Times 500 at Riverside in California on 30 August 1981.

Power's team-mate Alex Tagliani put in a solid performance and will start tomorrow's Lexmark Indy 300 from inside the top 10. Tagliani was sixth in today's session and improved on his time from yesterday. Tagliani will start from ninth on the grid in his seventh Surfers Paradise start.

Power will start alongside Sebastien Bourdais in tomorrow's race, with Paul Tracy third. Bourdais held the fastest time in today's session for a brief period, although that time was still not fast enough to eclipse Power's Friday pole time.

The Frenchman then had his fastest time taken away and any chance of grabbing pole extinguished when he crashed heavily and brought out the red flag.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --

Will Power -- #5 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola

"I feel awesome," said Power.

"It's great for Team Australia and to be in Australia and be an Australian driver. I couldn't have hoped for anything better.

"The good thing is that the car is quick. We did a long run in practice today and the car was very consistent; I think in the race tomorrow we can maintain a good speed.

"We sat because we had a set of black tyres to go and when Sebastien did a 1min 31.5, I thought we should go out and try for a time on the black tyres and see where the car is at and see if it's actually possible to better the time from yesterday.

"And we didn't even get to do that run because the red flag came out for Sebastien. Then there was only 12 minutes to go so we had no choice but to go out on the red tyres and go for it, because we were not sure whether A.J. (Allmendinger) was going to go quicker or Paul (Tracy) was going to go quicker. So I mean, yeah, the car was quick enough to beat that time."

STATS ON WILL POWER'S POLE POSITION

- first Champ Car Bridgestone Pole Award for Team Australia, formed at the start of 2005 by Craig Gore and Derrick Walker

- first Australian to gain pole position for the Australian round of the Champ Car World Series on the Gold Coast

- Power earned the first pole position for Team Australia Co-Owner Derrick Walker since Gil de Ferren put the Walker Racing Reynard on pole for the Molson Indy Toronto on 17 July 1999

- this is Power's first pole position since he was racing in the World Series by Renault in Europe, when he scored pole at the Oschersleben round in Germany on 6 August 2005

- Power becomes the first Australian driver to start a Champ Car race from pole since Geoff Brabham earned pole for the Los Angeles Times 500 at Riverside in California on 30 August 1981

Alex Taglani -- #15 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola

"It was a bittersweet day for us," said Tagliani.

"First I want to say congratulations to Will. He did a fantastic job and brought a great result for Team Australia.

"It was a little disappointing we couldn't have been higher up on the grid, but we are in the top ten and will aim for the podium tomorrow."

Derrick Walker -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"It was a good overall team effort, everybody is behind every one of our cars and when one of them makes front row and gets pole, it's good for everybody and a compliment to the whole team," said Walker.

"It's especially a compliment for Will who hung in there with us when we have had some good days and bad days. He pulled it off today and got us in the front row.

"Of course behind all of this is effort are some people who believe in the concept and certainly first and foremost is Craig Gore. He stepped up to the plate when this was an idea on a piece of paper and a couple of sponsorship proposals. Craig stepped up, saw the dream and what it was all about. Without his support we wouldn't be here today, so it's a big hats off to him.

"With Alex, we are really struggling there. We've got cars that are very similar, and we just don't understand what we need to do to get Alex up there. We will keep looking and a lot of effort is going to that."

Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner

"I think I'm having a fantastic dream and I don't want to wake up yet," said Gore.

"For Will to get the provisional pole yesterday was awesome and for him now to get the first pole for an Australian since Geoff Brabham in 1981 is just unbelievable.

"This is something the whole country can be proud of and something that will be remembered in Australian motorsport history for a long time.

"I'm so proud to have worked with all of our sponsors to make this a reality. The Team Australia crew is just amazing and Will is an extremely talented driver.

"I guess it's fair to say I don't want the dream to end, which means Will or Alex will have to win the race tomorrow. What a day it's going to be for Team Australia."

-credit: team australia

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Bruno Junqueira , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Sébastien Bourdais , Will Power , Geoff Brabham , Daniel Clarke , Alex T Jones