CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Saturday notes

McDONALD'S DRIVER BOURDAIS ON POLE FOR THE STEELBACK GRAND PRIX OF TORONTO; MEDI | ZONE DRIVER RAHAL TO START 15TH AFTER STRUGGLING Sebastien Bourdais, No. 1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone: "Well I guess the cars are getting faster and...


Sebastien Bourdais, No. 1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone:

"Well I guess the cars are getting faster and faster. It takes quite a few laps actually to get the full grip. I don't know if everybody agrees, but it took me quite a few attempts to really get the grip and the car going. In the meantime I seem to be struggling a little bit more in the corners as the run was going. It didn't look obvious that we were going to be able to grab this one but the McDonald's team did a fantastic job. I'm really, really pleased. I think we have a good car. But obviously these two guys (Justin Wilson and Oriol Servia) are pushing really hard. It could have gone either way. We're going to have to stay on our toes and keep working hard because it's not automatic, that's for sure. We're very, very happy, though, and we'll try to do the best job we can for tomorrow.

"It's a big challenge (this year). You start from scratch. Everybody's got the same stuff around, so it makes it even tougher. It's very, very good that it's that tight. I think it shows how good the level of driving and the competitiveness of the series at the front. In the meantime, it also shows that everybody could say anything about us, Newman/Haas and everything, but the truth is damper or no damper, we're still fighting at the front and doing a good job. That's what's really satisfying. We just kind of really are working probably even harder to try and stay at the front, but it's even more rewarding."

(On the importance of experience at this track:) "I think it plays a big factor, for sure. Like I said, it's a tough track. It's a tough track to know what a good car feels like. I think the perfect car at Toronto doesn't exist. You're going to have to accept and live with some problems and just know what you should just live with and what you need to fix. That's the tough thing. You know, I think it's very easy to get lost in the setup when you're in your first year. I've been there before. It was really hard. I'd have to say it was the toughest for me. But for sure, as a rookie, it's always a tough place."

* FAST FACTS: Leads the point standings with 147 points while second place Doornbos has 145. Will be his fifth race here. Started and finished third here in 2006. Regained the points lead here in 2005 after finishing fifth. Started from pole and led the first 34 laps before contact with Tracy while the two were racing out of the pits limited his result. Won from pole here in 2004 after leading 75 laps and setting the fastest race lap. Started sixth and finished fourth in rookie season in 2003. Became the first open wheel driver to win three consecutive championships since Ted Horn accomplished the feat from 1946-1948 and only the second in the 98 year history of the sport. He has the rare opportunity to win four consecutive championships this year if he can again capture the Vanderbilt Cup, which would extend his run that began in 2004. Bourdais would be making history as no Champ Car driver has ever won four straight championships. Four in a row is very rare in professional sports in fact it has never been done in either NASCAR or NFL and it hasn't been accomplished in the last twenty years in the NBA, NHL or MLB.

Graham Rahal, No. 2 Medi | Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone:

"The situation is frustrating. I don't think we have made any gains all weekend. In fact we lost ground after running eighth in provisional qualifying. It's embarrassing for me that we are so far back. I've never been in this position in my entire career. I don't understand why we are where we are and I can't make up the difference on the track. It bothers you when you can't figure out why. We always have a good car in the race but starting 15th at this place will make it almost impossible to get to the front no matter how good the race car is."

* FAST FACTS: Will be his second race here and first in a Champ Car. Started from pole in the 2006 Atlantic race here but was hit by Raphael Matos on the first lap. Repaired the damaged suspension and returned to the track a few laps down but later retired in 15th place. Set the fastest race lap. Finished second in the Champ Car Atlantic championship after a title hunt that concluded in the season finale. Led 129 laps to champion Pagenaud's 31. He earned a series-high five wins (42 percent), four poles (33 percent) and six podium finishes (50 percent) in the 12 events and at 17 years old was the youngest race winner in series history (Monterrey, Mexico on 5-21-06).

-credit: n/h/l

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Oriol Servia , Graham Rahal , Sébastien Bourdais