CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Top-three finishers press conference (part 1)

Post-Race Champ Car Press Conference Transcript with; Sebastien Bourdais Jimmy Vasser Patrick Carpentier ERIC MAUK: Ladies and Gentlemen, we'll go ahead and get started with our post-race press conference as we introduce you to the top ...

Post-Race Champ Car Press Conference Transcript with;
Sebastien Bourdais
Jimmy Vasser
Patrick Carpentier

ERIC MAUK: Ladies and Gentlemen, we'll go ahead and get started with our post-race press conference as we introduce you to the top three finishers of today's Molson Indy Toronto, race six of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. At the moment I am joined by our two of our top three finishers. Finishing third today, Patrick Carpentier, driver of the #7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, for Forsythe Championship Racing. Patrick earns the 19th podium of his career and the first of the season.Up here on the podium in a very important race for you. Tell us about how it feels.

PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, no, it's great. First time that we've done well in Toronto, always seem to have a little bit of bad luck, things never went our way. At the beginning of the race, I thought we were going to get lapped two or three times because the car got really, really loose. Tried to go into the hairpin, then three, four cars passed me at the same time. I just kept losing ground.

I was hoping to go to the pit stop because it was a small pit stop window. So we made it to the pit stop. After that, we adjusted some stuff in the car and the car was really fast. We managed to come back. But after stalling the car a couple of times down the back, I was hoping the cars were not going to go around and pass me. So they started me up, and I stalled it again. So I was pretty lucky up there. Then after that, it was survival of the fittest, I guess.

ERIC MAUK: Were you worried at that point that it was a terminal problem with the car?

PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, at the beginning I thought it was really bad. I could see the pickup of the front tires, I thought we broke a sway bar or something like that. I think I just had too much rear brake. I just slowly killed the rear tires. Every time I was braking for the corner, the back end would get really loose, and it got kind of out of control. But after I adjust the car and we took some wing out, did a few things, the car was really stable and pretty fast. So on the restarts, we could pass quite a few cars.

ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. Good run. Our second place finisher today, Jimmy Vasser, driver of the #12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for PKV Racing, earning the 31st podium of his career, and his first since last year at Australia, Jimmy Vasser. Again, Jimmy, a pretty eventful day out there for you.

JIMMY VASSER: Yeah. For me it was just a matter of keeping our nose clean. We kind of have just been snipping outside the top five time-wise for qualifying. We always seem to be ninth or tenth or something. So we really need to work on the technical side of our program to get the car faster. But today was one of those days that you just need to keep your nose clean. I made it through some of the carnage at the first corner, had a good seat for a lot of the fireworks that were just in front of me.

Took an opportunity, made a few moves on Tagliani and Servia when I had to. When you're one lap on warm tires, they're on cold, you got to take the shot. It worked for me. The race kind of came to us. It was one of those days for us. It's a great finish for PKV Racing. Getting the good points, days like this you need to get good points. First podium for me with the team. Gulfstream, our sponsor. We're very, very happy with the result. But, you know, we do realize that we need to get more speed out of our car and fight for those race wins purely from the start.

ERIC MAUK: Three top fives in the last four starts for Jimmy and the PKV team. First podium as a car owner/driver. Are you happy with the way things are going? Look like you're starting to put some results together.

JIMMY VASSER: Yeah, I'm happy with the energy on our team. I've been working real hard to get camaraderie with the guys, to get a real positive attitude and everybody pulling in the same direction. Just the basics for teamwork.

It's starting to come around. I think in that respect, the team is getting really good. You can come under the tent and feel the good energy. The stops are good. Everybody is getting to know each other, working with each other. Everything is second nature. We need to work on the technical side of our team and get our race car faster. That's really the thing that's kind of coming slower than we want. But the car was reasonable in the race and drivable. We just need to make it a bit quicker. For an old guy like me, I need to have a faster car (laughter).

ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. Nice run. The winner of the Molson Indy Toronto, Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman/Haas Racing. Sebastien wins his third consecutive race, his fourth of the year, the seventh of his career, and he can tie a Champ Car record if he wins in Vancouver in two weeks' time, as the Champ Car record is four consecutive race wins held by Al Unser, Jr., Alex Zanardi and Paul Tracy. Another win from the pole. Any anxious moments out there for you?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, you make me anxious because the last time you said I was going to make a record, they took me out of the front row in Cleveland. I guess I'm going to have a bad weekend in Vancouver now. But that's all right.

I think the McDonald's crew did an awesome job. We had a great car today. We knew that having the pole position was a big advantage. I had a moment at the start with Paul, he tried really hard. He moved to the left before I could even take the race line, so I had to stay inside and brake inside at turn three, first lap. It was a tough call. But right there the yellow came out, and kind of, you know, slowed down a bit the whole mood of the race. We had to restart. I think, you know, it's always easier to do a good restart from the front when it's a single line.

After that, I've had a very, you know, difficult first stint. I had to save fuel as much as I could. The target from the team was really high. I was struggling to keep up with the mileage and to keep Tracy in my back. It worked out really, really well. The team did a great job at figuring out what was the right figure because we stopped one lap later than Paul, and we still were able to hold him up. I think he wore a bit his tires and he had to push a bit harder than I, you know, to keep up.

So after that, really the race came to us because we had one-lap advantage and two sets of stickers for the next following stints. You know, I just push really hard and try to pit early on the second stop to make sure that we were not going to get stopped by a yellow. I put a very good lap, 60.3, just pulled away, and after that was a pretty easy race except we had a lot of restarts. I think we did a really good job today.

ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. Our top five in the points after six events, Sebastien moves into the points lead with 164, Bruno Junqueira falls to second with 136, Patrick closes in on the leaders, third with 129, Paul Tracy is fourth with 108, Alex Tagliani is fifth with 103. Jimmy vaults all the way up to sixth, he has 101 on the year. Take questions from the media now.

Q: Jimmy, this race was particularly tough on a lot of people. There was a lot of banging and bumping, pushing, shoving, penalties. Do you think people were just overdriving? Why did we see so much of it today?

JIMMY VASSER: Well, the grid has been very tight, you know. Sebastien pulled away very easily. He was kind of the class of the field all weekend long. But I think you've seen the grid be very tight second, third on back to the top ten. Guys are pushing very hard. It's competitive. Sometimes it's very inviting, especially on a restart or some of these braking zones to try to make a maneuver because it's easier at the start of a stint than once everything settles in. It's very difficult to pass. Guys like to try to take that opportunity. You know, it's very high, high energy out there.

The guys are trying to make the moves. I think over the years you've seen a lot of this kind of banging and stuff like that. Street racing kind of promotes it. I think that's part of the excitement of street racing, you never know what's going to happen. It's good for the fans. I think if it was just a procession, single file all the time, it wouldn't be very exciting.

Q: Sebastien, three wins in a row, taking over the points lead. Can you talk a little bit how you feel about momentum?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, obviously I think things are rolling very well for us. But, you know, I just really want to stay focused on the target, which is to try to win the championship. Motor racing, you know, things are moving so fast, you are really successful one day and the next day you're nowhere. I just want to really stay focused and keep pushing as we've been doing since the beginning of the year. If we can achieve that, we should be in very good shape for the championship at the end.

Q: Jimmy, in your opening comments you made reference to your passing Tag and Oriol. Can you take us through that?

JIMMY VASSER: I came in one lap earlier than them. I was struggling to make mileage, we really have all weekend long, having to use a lot of throttle to make the car do what I want it to do in the corners. I came in a lap earlier. I had a real good out lap. I saw them coming out of the pits as I was crossing the start/finish. I had one lap heat in my tires as opposed to them. I took Oriol Servia in turn three on the outside, and then took Tagliani in the next corner, the left-hander. I don't know if it's turn five. I believe it is. Maybe it's four. Went down the inside. He was a little bit, you know, still struggling with the cold tires. There was a crack and I took it.

At times like that, you have to take -- I got a little hot tires, and they're still on cold, I had to take the shot, otherwise I would have been stuck behind them, I think. So that's really the point where my race opened up. I was able to open up some distance. It's much easier -- it's always a lot easier to run fast when you have clear air in front of you. The car operates in a whole different manner. If you're stuck behind a couple cars, you can't really get close, the automobiles, they're aerodynamically real efficient. If you get a little dirty air, they don't work as well. Clear air is the answer for these cars.

Q: Pat, with a couple laps to go, you were fourth. Can you sort of explain what your crew told you in those final moments after it went green? Did you run into Hunter-Reay?

PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah. I wanted to get that third place finish. I knew it was 'push to pass'. I had two seconds of 'push to pass' left. Once you push it, if you lift, then you don't have it anymore. I pushed it and then I went to the left, he went to the left, I went to the right, he went to the right, left, right, and I couldn't lift, so I hit him (laughter). Then that was it. Made the pass.

I saw smoke and part of my wing go, but I thought, "I'm okay for braking." I thought he'd had a flat tire. His car was going like this. He didn't notice it. I'm going to go braking, I think I'm going to make the pass. He couldn't make the pass. He couldn't stop. But I knew I was not going to get penalized. I hope so. I've been the last few weeks. Because to me it was considered blocking, because he went left and right, left and right, three or four times. If I would have lift, he would have been done.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: The only thing I can say is I'm really glad I was up front because it looks like it was really crazy out there (laughter).

Q: You've never done well here in Toronto. You have a podium now. You go to Vancouver, another race you've never really done well in. How are you feeling now going out west?

PATRICK CARPENTIER: I'm pretty happy. One thing I wish is we could have finished Cleveland. If we wouldn't have had that mechanical breakdown, we'd be right up there with Sebastien. But that's racing and we just have to try to keep getting the points. For me, Toronto, I love the city, but it's always been a very difficult track for me. Never really done well here. Always had some sort of bad luck. But today I'm really happy. Actually qualifying sixth here is about my best effort. Finishing the race in third place is good. I was hoping to come out of here with some points. Vancouver has been a good track for me. The tracks that are coming on after that I really like. I'm looking forward to it. As he says, Sebastien might have a bit of bad luck now that he mentioned it (laughter).

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Thank you, Patrick.

Continued in part 2.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Alex Zanardi , Oriol Servia , Al Unser Sr. , Sébastien Bourdais