Ranger fastest rookie again as Philippe takes top ten in Toronto qualifying Toronto,ONT (9 July 2005)-- Mi-Jack Conquest Racing drivers Nelson Philippe and rookie Andrew Ranger both improved their times by over a second in the final qualifying...
Ranger fastest rookie again as Philippe takes top ten in Toronto qualifying
Toronto,ONT (9 July 2005)-- Mi-Jack Conquest Racing drivers Nelson Philippe and rookie Andrew Ranger both improved their times by over a second in the final qualifying session and will line up tenth and eleventh respectively on the grid for Sunday's Molson Indy Toronto for round six of the Champ Car World Series.
Underscoring the highly competitive nature of the Champ Car World Series, the top eleven drivers were within one second of the pole-sitters time. Philippe's best lap time was the ninth quickest of the second session, but he will line up tenth on the grid due to Cristiano da Matta having scored his best time in Friday's qualifying session.
In the Friday qualifying session, the young duo of Ranger and Philippe were closely matched, posting times that were separated by a remarkably narrow margin, as Philippe took a lap that was just .001 of a second quicker than Ranger. Both drivers were convinced they had more speed in the car, and the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing engineering team worked hard overnight to help the young drivers shave a second off their times from Friday on the 1.755-mile concrete-lined temporary street circuit near Toronto's Exhibition Place.
Despite nursing an injured ankle back to full strength, Philippe was able to score his best Champ Car qualifying effort yet in the second session as the young Frenchman, who led twenty-three laps in the second round race in Monterrey, Mexico, continues to improve with his Wellbox/Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Lola.
"It is a pretty good qualifying position considering the guys who are ahead of me," said Philippe. "We are still a second off the lead -- it's closer than we've ever been but definitely we want to be closer but I think for tomorrow, it will be alright. If we can get the balance just a little bit better, I know we can go even faster tomorrow. We will work on it and see what happens in the warm-up Sunday. But overall I am happy with my performance today and that's good for the future."
Despite a big improvement in the second session, Ranger was unable to improve on the eleventh starting position he'd earned on Friday, so he is hoping for even more speed come race time to try and score another podium finish in his young Champ Car career.
"The car was much better then yesterday and this morning, but I still need a couple seconds," said Ranger b^0x001cThe engineers gave me the best car we had for today, and I did a little mistake in one corner, but it's racing and it's a very close competition. We got everything we could out of the car for qualifying, I changed my line in a couple of corners and try to improve. We will look at the data tonight, and I'll work with the engineers to get ready for the long race tomorrow."
For Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team owner Eric Bachelart, the qualifying results from his two young charges showed the continued progress the team has made during the season thanks to an improved engineering program and good effort from their drivers.
"We had a good run today, first top ten in qualifying for Nelson and I'm very pleased with that," said Bachelart. "We have to keep on working some more on the car and make it even better to have a good race tomorrow. Andrew had a bit of hard time getting used to the track, but he improved quite a bit for qualifying. It looks like we are moving in the right direction."