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Champ Car World Series: Molson Indy Vancouver

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Molson Indy Vancouver

Champ Car World Series: Molson Indy Vancouver

Sebastien Bourdais
Rodolfo Lavin
Paul Tracy
July 24, 2004


VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA

ERIC MAUK: All right, ladies and gentlemen, we will go ahead and get started with our post-qualifying press conference. We are joined by our top three qualifiers for tomorrow's Molson Indy Vancouver, Round 7 of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. My name is Eric Mauk news manager of communications staff for Champ Car. We'll start with our third place qualifier, our series points leader after six events, driver of the #2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman Haas Racing, Sebastien Bourdais. He puts up a top time for the two combined sessions of 60.974 seconds, 105.153 miles per hour. Not quite as quick as yesterday, but starting the race in the third slot, how do you feel?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I think we have to feel very lucky because we did not put it together today. So, just very glad to be up front and hope we have a good race, because every time we go out on new tires, we just got a red flag after three or four laps. It was difficult, but I think a lot of surprises for a lot of people, and it's good for Rodolfo and I guess we are going to have a nice race tomorrow.

ERIC MAUK: Have you had a chance to put in some long runs in during practice? Do you feel pretty confident with your race setup?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, we are going to see tomorrow. As I said yesterday, the tire wear here is not a big issue, so it should be a pretty decent race for us. Last year I was doing very good with the race car we had. It should be a good race after what we've seen in Toronto, so hopefully we're going to be plenty fast.

ERIC MAUK: Again, a very warm day out there, another slick racetrack, how did the tires hold up?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: The Bridgestone tires are really good here. I guess the grip, it was very good, we could have set a track record, if not to the red flag we had. It's just not so easy because -- inaudible -- for sure, the racetrack hold u very well and the tires will be very fast. I think it's going to be a tight race tomorrow again.

ERIC MAUK: Our second place finisher a young man earning his very first front row start in the Champ Car World Series, driver of the #3 Corona-sponsored Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Forsythe Championship Racing, Rodolfo Lavin. Rodolfo leads today's qualifying and earns the second spot with a best lap of 60.980 seconds, 105.143 miles per hour. Rodolfo, congratulations. How does it feel?

RODOLFO LAVIN: Good afternoon, everybody. Well, it feels great. It's just really super for me, for Corona team. We have been working really, really hard since the beginning of the season. We struggled here -- we struggled yesterday quite a bit. We didn't any lap in the first practice. It was hard, the car wasn't that good in the -- yesterday qualifying, but we worked really, really hard overnight and the car just looked great this morning. I think we won in the regulation in the setup and I'm just really, really happy to be starting on the front for my first time, this is my second year -- inaudible. I think we are showing what we can do with our car, with a good team. I think this is only just the beginning of good results. Tomorrow I will have to do a really, really consistent race, a really fast pace, and hopefully we can win the race and finish on the podium.

ERIC MAUK: Now, you've been at this for a long time and many years in Indy Lights, Atlantics coming up here, you've seen this track a number of times. Tell us what it means all of these years, to be up here on the podium and getting ready to start in the front row tomorrow.

RODOLFO LAVIN: It's just great. It's first time up here on this podium here with the great drivers besides me. For me, it is a great feeling. I'm sure for Corona, it's a great feeling, also, and to the team. As I said, we've just been working really, really hard for many, many years and I think we are starting to get the groove we are looking for many years ago.

ERIC MAUK: The pole sitter for the Molson Indy Vancouver, the defending race champion here, the defending series champion, the defending series champion from a year ago, driver of the #1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Forsythe Championship Racing, Paul Tracy. Paul earns his second pole of the year, the 21st pole of his career. He sits on yesterday's time of 60.870 seconds, 105.333 miles per hour. Paul, even though did you not improve on that time, you got the job done and sit on the pole for tomorrow's race.

PAUL TRACY: Yeah, it was a very, very strange session. There was a lot of -- we waited a little bit to do and when we decided to go, everybody kind of followed me out. And when I came around for my first flying laps, there was cars just still warming up, so I had to back off. And really, the first run was just filled with traffic. Every time I would try to clear myself of traffic, somebody else would come up and I would have to get out of their way and let them by, and they would slow down and come in the pit. So really, that's how both sets of tires went. I was trying to find a gap the whole time. We had a good lap going and I slid out and just brushed the wall a little bit. But, you know, we just could really never find a rhythm with the session. And then luckily at the end, for us, the wreck came out at the right time for us, for both Rodolfo and myself.

ERIC MAUK: Last year, a number of times when guys were in your position and had a front row spot guaranteed, they might take it a little easier in Saturday on the final qualifying session, and this year it has not been the case and wasn't the case for you today. Is that a factor of the increased competition of the series or where does it come from.

PAUL TRACY: You have to push all the time. The track was going to be quicker today, but I never got the chance to put a whole lap in because of traffic and situations out there. So, it was a little bit frustrating because I thought we could have improved from yesterday's time but never could put it together.

Q. Rodolfo has never been on the front tomorrow, what would you as a teammate tell him before?

PAUL TRACY: I'm going to tell him to keep him behind him. (Laughter) That's my only word of advice. (Laughter).

Q. Do you still wish your teammate success in a situation like that?

PAUL TRACY: Well, he's been working a long time to get here, driven in a lot of series. He's earned the opportunity to be up there. So it's congratulations to him. And I know he's always in the truck looking at me and Pat's data and trying to learn and trying to improve, and he put the whole qualifying session together and it was the right time for him and Corona. Corona has a lot of people here from Corona, Canada, so it was important for him.

Q. How is the track holding up?

PAUL TRACY: It's good. I think the times would have been quicker today -- inaudible -- but never really had the opportunity to put the whole complete lap together, only had sessions of the race track and then I would catch traffic. Difficult to say but I think on any Saturday, you need to improve.

Q. Inaudible?

PAUL TRACY: Not really. He had some misfortune today with the suspension braking on the curbs and that's kind of the risks that you take here. I remember a few years ago, we kind of had a similar problem with some suspension arms folding up a couple of years ago on that curb going into the last corner. It's very hard on the car, that curb. =You know, he'll fight towards the front. He's been further back than that and seems to always come up with a good result. So you can never count Bruno out till the race is over.

Q. Inaudible?

RODOLFO LAVIN: Definitely , we'll have to make a really clean start if we are going to keep on the race track on the first lap. And after that, just keep very consistent lap times, quick, and doing very good pit stops, I think we're going to be able to stay up there all the time. Hopefully we can win the race. We can win the race, we're going to try to do our best, our best efforts all the time, and hopefully we can make it a victory.

Q. Inaudible?

RODOLFO LAVIN: Everybody in the race wants to be in first place, so that's where we compete and we try to do our best and we'll see how it goes.

Q. For Paul and for Rodolfo, if he wants to add anything, anything you can say about the setup you have here that fits specifically to this track?

PAUL TRACY: I think Rodolfo can maybe comment more. When he came to the team, we have an engineering truck and we are all in the same room together. I'm sure it works the same way on other teams, but we have a very open book policy. Whatever is on my car can be put on Rodolfo's car or Pat's car or vice versa. I think Rodolfo, coming from another team, me and Pat talk about it all the time, but since he's new to the team, maybe he can comment on that.

RODOLFO LAVIN: Yeah, definitely, I mean, I don't have experience on the Lola. I've been racing on the Reynard. Since I got to the team I've just learned many, many things. Pat has been teaching me many things and we just share information all the time. It's a great opportunity to me to use what they are using on the cars and to just keep learning and learning every time. You know, every single race, you know, driving styles, the braking, the setup, etc., So definitely I felt very big, just huge difference between the last season and this season.

Q. Will push-to-pass be a factor -- inaudible?

PAUL TRACY: It's not a very long straightaway, turn one. So I don't think the push to pass comes into too much effect there. The question mark is down into turn 6 or 7 at the end of the straightaway. It's a long straightaway, but there's a fast sweeper in it, which makes it very hard to stay close to a car on cold tires. So, you know, we'll see what happens tomorrow. I'll expect everybody to use it, and from there, we'll just try to -- by the time we get down the back straightaway, everybody is pretty strung out, so we'll see.

Q. Sebastien, often you and Bruno have been on the front row in the past before, and now you're facing a pair of teammates on the front row, does that effect anything you'll do in tomorrow's race?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I think Rodolfo, clearly he wants to win the race, so he's going to try hard and so is everybody else. It doesn't really change anything. It's just another competitor and at the end of the day we just have to do the best job. I'd like to be inside, I think.

ERIC MAUK: As a note today's attendance for Saturday qualifying was 50,801, gives us a two-day total of 95,014 for two days. Thank you all very much. We go racing tomorrow, 85 laps, we begin at one o'clock. Thank you.



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