STEELBACK GRAND PRIX OF TRONTO POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT An interview with: WILL POWER NEEL JANI JUSTIN WILSON THE MODERATOR: Welcome to our post race press conference. With 164 points, Robert Doornbos is leading the ...
STEELBACK GRAND PRIX OF TRONTO POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Welcome to our post race press conference. With 164 points, Robert Doornbos is leading the championship, two points ahead of our race winner, Will Power, with 162. Sebastien Bourdais is third in the points 161. Justin Wilson is fourth with 138. Alex Tagliani rounds out the top five with 127.
First, we have the third-place finisher, Justin Wilson. Second podium finish this season. A little hard work late in the race to get up to that third stop.
JUSTIN WILSON: It was an eventful race. I was racing Sebastien earlier on. I tried to pass him going into five. He got a really bad run through four so I knew I had a chance. He went in deep and turned in as if I wasn't there. I was disappointed that I got spun around. But, you know, I was fired up to come back, too.
I enjoyed passing him later in the race and getting a position off of him.
THE MODERATOR: With the third-place finish, along with his teammate, Canadian Alex Tagliani, the RSPORT team is second in the Canadian Triple Crown standings.
Standing next to me is Neel Jani. Neel, last weekend you had your first career podium. This weekend you moved up to second. What about Edmonton next weekend?
NEEL JANI: It was two weeks ago Cleveland, my first podium. Last weekend, I think until 12 laps before the end I was in second, but then I fell back to sixth.
But anyway, this race here, I had a good start just behind Will. Then in the beginning, I had to still learn a bit more about fuel saving in Champ Car. But as it seemed at the end, with the rain, it wasn't that important anymore.
We had to pit for the rain tires one lap after everybody else just after the yellow flag came out, so the team did a great job on that, and also the pit stop was good. That just brought us from, I think five, six or seven forward to second.
Obviously then Will passed me, but he was too quick today. In the end, when I got past, I just tried to keep eye contact with Will and not look into the mirrors who was there. It worked out.
THE MODERATOR: Our winner today, Will Power. Will, you ran away from the field there in the late stages with the wet. How were you able to get away that quick?
WILL POWER: Yeah, well, it was an interesting race. Yeah, it was great that it rained, but also in the dry we went a lap longer than everyone. We were looking good then. We were looking good either way.
So, you know, I'm very happy for the team. The start was really good for wets. We gained a position there. Obviously these guys came out in front of us because they pitted a lap earlier. This is exactly what we needed points-wise, and also for Sebastien not to finish, that really helps us in the championship. We've got some pretty strong tracks coming up.
THE MODERATOR: Will, with the finish, you and Simon are now leading the Canadian Triple Crown again. After what we saw today it could be anybody's game at Edmonton.
WILL POWER: That's right. Yeah, a lot of mayhem in the race once again. Yeah, stoked to be leading the Triple Crown. Hopefully we can finish it off in Edmonton with both of us on the podium 1, 2. That would be perfect.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.
Q: Will at what point did you realize it was survival of the fastest?
WILL POWER: Yeah, very early on you'd see people crashing. Once it all settled down it was just all about fuel saving, and we did that really well.
But, yeah, our first pit stop, came out, started sprinkling. Almost a lap or two too early unfortunately, but not too unfortunately. Then when it was wet, I just drove like hell. I just wanted to get to the front. I knew that there was going to be a bit of mayhem throughout the race.
But, you know, once I got to the front, every restart, I just tried to put as big a gap in the first couple of corners and drive mistake-free.
Q: Will, this weekend has been miserable for you, driving into the runoff areas several times in practice, what attributed to that?
WILL POWER: Well, it all started in first qualifying when we had an electrical problem in the car. Then I went out, which I probably shouldn't have on cold tires and got a penalty for holding people up.
So, you know, we were like a session behind all weekend. In Champ Car that really costs you because you've got to be following the conditions all the time.
So, yeah, it was a very tough weekend. I have to say I was very frustrated on Saturday night. I was really down about the results here.
But, you know, we had a good strategy going into the race. Whether it was wet or dry, we knew we were going to save fuel and try and move up a bit. Turns out it was a very good weekend for us.
Q: Neel where has the team improved the most and do you consider yourself a "rain racer?"
NEEL JANI: Well, I wasn't last weekend in Mont-Tremblant. I was second there when it started raining, but I just fell back because we didn't have the pace in that.
Today we could turn it around for the rain a bit more. But in pre-season testing we were really quick, but it was all road courses with no bumps. Then the first few races were more bumpy. We just struggled with our car. Slowly we are finding our path, our path to getting back.
I really hope we get it also done in Edmonton
Q: Were you worried that you would have the power to hold on to your second podium finish?
NEEL JANI: Well, last weekend he did a move on me in the last corner, last lap. I knew I had to be careful last corner, last lap (laughter).
But, yeah, I was worrying a little bit because I was struggling with power down especially. My rear tires somehow in the last three laps, I don't know what happened really, but I had so much oversteer and wheel spin, which made it really hard the last few laps.
Obviously, Justin was at my back. Seeing him always in my mirror everywhere, I was a little bit worried. But it just worked out this time.
Q: The big story of the weekend was blocking, Tony Cotman made some changes in the drivers meeting in reference to rules and blocking penalties. Were there problems today?
JUSTIN WILSON: From where I was, no. Most people kept to their line, obeyed the rules, so it was very good.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I got blocked by Bruno Junqueira. It's probably a bit of payback for first qualifying (laughter). But I also got a penalty for that, so it's a double whammy, yeah.
That's life. That's racing. Drivers always pay you back in some way.
NEEL JANI: Well, I think in the end the line wasn't even there anymore after the rain. You could drive anywhere you want.
But in the dry, everybody was respecting it. Obviously in the rain the line changes. Mostly you brake on the inside, so you block automatically.
Q: Will on the first lap did you get together with Simon?
WILL POWER: No. I think he might have hit Tag. I saw it as I was going around the outside, I saw his front wing slide in front of me. I was thinking, Is that my front wing? I didn't touch anyone (laughter).
Q: How hard was it to build a rhythm with all the caution periods?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it's always frustrating when you build a big lead, like four or five seconds. You know, you see there's only six laps to go and suddenly yellow. You're like, Oh, my God. This is never going to end.
But I just really focused on the restarts. If I could get a gap and be comfortable, you don't force yourself into an error. You don't have to do something unnecessary to pull away.
Got a big gap and then just drove really as hard as I could without making mistakes.
Q: Justin, could you talk a little bit about the pass you made on Ryan Dalziel when he was running third?
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I caught Ryan up going into eight, and he braked much later than he had been, but I'd already committed to the inside. I got alongside him as he took me into the concrete. I just started sliding towards the wall as he then attempted to drive back around the outside. We kind of met almost up against the wall.
I think his front right hit my left rear, which, you know, in normal terms you would say that was my corner. But, you know, I feel sorry for Ryan. Everyone at Pacific Coast has done a fantastic job. They were running well. From my point of view, I thought he could have maybe slowed up, let me slide out wide and passed me back into the next corner.
Q: In the rain you seemed to be running quicker times, have you guys figured out something with your rain set up?
JUSTIN WILSON: No, same as last week really. We really struggled when it was very wet. Just can't get the car to work. Sliding around all over the place. But in the transition, when it starts to rain and when it starts to dry back up, we seem to be very quick.
I think we got something to work out in the full-wet conditions. I was just hoping earlier in the race, when we got one yellow, it looked like it was going to clear up, and it didn't. It got wetter and wetter, just like last week. I thought if it dried up, we could have gone back to the front. Just got to be happy with finishing third.
Q: Do you think others were hesitant to pass in the wet conditions?
JUSTIN WILSON: Everyone's pushing out there. We're all trying to drive to the limit of the car. All sliding around, trying to get the power down, just like the next guy. You take calculated risks.
Q: Will made a lot of points up in the championship today. Justin you are in fourth do you feel you are still in the championship chase?
JUSTIN WILSON: No, I'd like to just sneak up on them. Let them fade away, and if we can start getting our act together, get on a podium every race, I think we can do it.
We'll just keep working, take it one race at a time. Whatever happens in the championship happens.
Q: Will on the restarts you seemed to pick up a lot of positions, were you that much better on the restarts than the others?
WILL POWER: No, I was on it. Like when I was sitting behind Sebastien, I knew he was kind tentative in the wet and I attacked it. The first corner got him. The next restart, I think I got Neel. Next restart, I got Ryan.
Yeah, it's just about being aggressive at the right time without hitting anyone.
Q: Will I hear there is a drought in Australia. Do you think they will reschedule the Champ Car race so that the area can get some rain sooner, since it seems to rain every time you are in town?
WILL POWER: That's right. Every year we go to Surfers, it rains. Massive drought. They need to go to Toowoomba, my hometown. It's really bad up there. Yeah, the rain follows us everywhere we go.
THE MODERATOR: We'll break off for one-on-ones. We thank you for your coverage.