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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
Patrick Carpentier
Paul Tracy
July 23, 2004


VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA

ERIC MAUK: Ladies and gentlemen, we'll get started with our top three qualifying press conference, first round of qualifying for the Molson Indy Vancouver, Round 7 of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. We have two of our top three qualifiers and the third of our top three qualifiers have just joined us, so we'll go ahead and begin. We'll start right with our third place qualifier of the day, driver of the #7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Forsythe Championship Racing, Patrick Carpentier. Patrick puts up a best time of 61.398 seconds, 104.427 miles per hour. And Pat, you keep seem to start these things in the top five and putting together solid qualifying, how do you feel with the way it went?

PATRICK CARPENTIER: I'm pretty happy. Not too bad. I wanted to get a little bit better time, especially a little bit at the end there, coming into the pit. So it took a lap -- that's what I've done there. But on the first set, it went pretty well. On the second set, came on the back of a train of six, seven cars. So we were trying to get a gap, and there was nothing to do. I kind of had to stop down the back and let some time go by and try to go again, but it was very difficult to get a time on the second set. At least we had a good one in the first one. That probably is very good. It's a long race, and this race, you never know what happens. But there's still tomorrow, so it doesn't mean very much unless you get the pole today.

ERIC MAUK: How tough is it, explain to the media if you would, you talked about rolling up on a couple of people during qualifying, having to get yourself some space. How do you get yourself some space, but still not put yourself in jeopardy of being accused of blocking somebody and taking up too much space.

PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, when I came up to these guys, there were six, seven cars, like, man they are going to have to penalize a lot of cars, you know. (Laughing). There was seven cars kind of blocking one another, everyone was trying to find a gap on the track and it seems we were all at the same place. That's the way it is. That's the way qualifyings are. Sometimes you get a gap and sometimes you don't. In the second set, we could not get the gap we wanted to. I don't think we had a shot for the pole today, anyway, but it would have been a bit better than what they did.

ERIC MAUK: Our second place qualifier and our series points leader after six events, driver of the #2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman Haas Racing, Sebastien Bourdais. Sebastien puts up a quick lap 60.974 second, 105.153 miles per hour. Sebastien, tell us a little bit about your qualifying efforts.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I'm pretty upbeat. I think the McDonald's car was good today. We had a pretty difficult time this morning. It looked like it was going to be a repeat of Cleveland; every time we are going out, we have a red flag. It's not exactly the right timing. It all came to us during the qualifying. So, I guess the right moment, if anything, you know. The first run was pretty good. I did a small mistake and the second one was better. It's not a perfect lap, and I think if we spin the car the right way tomorrow, we'll should be able to give an answer to trying to repeat what we did in Toronto.

ERIC MAUK : The next to last lap you put up, you run a 60.9, you had one more lap on the clock and everybody is kind of holding their breath. Did you have a shot at it, or was 60.9 pretty much the best you thought you had?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, we slowed up in the pits, but I don't think it would have been a 60.8. Maybe a 60.9, maybe, I don't know. We'll have to see that. But I did a small mistake on turn four, and kind of been running behind on the lap, but came up really close. So, again, as Patrick said today, it's all about doing the pole today or nothing. So we'll see and trying to repeat tomorrow with a good effort.

ERIC MAUK: Very warm day today. How did the Bridgestones hold up?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: The Bridgestones actually are very good here. The consistency is very good and it's not -- the road is not as much of an issue as Toronto. You can turn the car in different ways. It's interesting, I think that the setup we have comparing to Toronto is very close, and that's why I'm pretty glad that we have a good utilization of the tires right now.

ERIC MAUK: Our first round qualifying leader our, defending Molson Indy Vancouver Champion, our defending Champ Car World Series Champion driver of the #1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Forsythe Championship Racing, Paul Tracy. He guarantees himself a front row starting spot, which marks the third consecutive race he will start on the front row, he earns a championship point giving him 109 on the season. He puts up a best lap of 60.819 seconds, 105.421 miles per hour. Put yourself on the front row in a race you'd really like to have; you've got to be happy today.

PAUL TRACY: I'm very happy with how the qualifying went today. We didn't start off this morning as well as we would have liked. The car was, it felt good, but it just did not have the time in it. We made a couple of small changes to the car and it came alive in the warm-up session. And then, you know, I was able to -- we decided that traffic can always be a problem here late in the session. So we decided to go a little bit earlier than most guys, and did a good first run, and then came out again and backed it up with a solid second run. Then basically had to come in and watch the monitor for a few minutes, which is always a little bit unnerving, especially when, you know, the Newman Haas guys are on the track. So we had to sit and watch, and so everything turned out good. It was great.

ERIC MAUK: First day, and you guys are less than half a second off Cristiano da Matta's track record here; is that something you think you can get tomorrow?

PAUL TRACY: I think it can fall tomorrow. We are quicker from last year's pole from Saturday. We are talking about, now, you know, the cars, basically the same car, same tire but 100 horsepower less and we can probably get close to that time. So it shows how well the teams have worked at refining the cars, making the cars better over the last year and a half. The track is in great shape, too. It's had a lot of rubber on it today, which was quite surprising for Friday. It really had a lot of grip to it. Hopefully we can get down to the low 60s.

Q. Inaudible.

PAUL TRACY: You know, it's funny because our cars are quite different in terms of setup. Pat's and I's, we run a certain setup and Newman Haas runs a different geometry in the front, roll centers and things, and it's amazing how close the cars actually are in terms of speed. That's what's great about this series is that everybody has kind of got their own kind of setup out on the track. The cars are all very close to each other which is great.

PATRICK CARPENTIER: He's got to be really concerned because I don't even know what has on his car.

Q. Watching, it's kind of really street racing, you have to be really brutal, you have to really attack but at the same time you have to -- inaudible -- you do similar things.

PAUL TRACY: Well, it really is. You really have to attack the corner to get the speeds from the car, because a lot of the time is made in the braking and entry to the corner but you have to walk a fine line. You can't overstep it because it's a street course. If you slide out, you're going to hit something. You're going to have to be both aggressive and conservative at the same time. You see road courses, places like Cleveland or Elkhart, Ohio, you see guys really hanging it out and going off the track, just flying off the end of the track at the exit of the corner, trying to get way too much than what's there, and you really can't afford to do that here. You have to attack all the time, but stay within a certain parameter.

Q. After what happened, the blocking, any indication of why it was so peaceful out there today through qualifying?

PAUL TRACY: I don't know. I guess everybody has had a weekend off. You know, from our standpoint, we decided to go early. We thought there was going to be a lot of traffic and a lot of bickering and complaining going on, so we decided to just go and do our laps by ourselves and see what we could do.

Q. You said yesterday that you really need good qualifying tires -- do you have enough tires to take it there tomorrow?

PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, I think so. We had some traffic at the end a little bit. I think it could have been a few tenths better. Yeah, I think so. Tomorrow is when it's going to count, but I'm pretty happy with the car so far. Starting in the first two rows, I'm pretty happy.

Q. The race, can you compare what it requires here and Toronto ?

PAUL TRACY: Well, it's quite a lot different than Toronto. This has got a complex, really, in the first couple of corners. You don't really have, like Toronto, you come down a straightaway, you have a fairly simple corner that leads on to a long straightaway, which kind of sets everything up for the end of the straightaway. Here, you've got a complex where everybody pretty much has to get single file, and then on the straightaway, you've got a really technical bumpy sweeper that's flat-out. It's pretty difficult to follow a guy really closely through there. So, that kind of straightens everybody out on the first lap. It's not to say that accidents have not happened here on the first corner, but they are not as common as other places.

Q. Any deterioration in the track surface -- inaudible?

PAUL TRACY: I don't think it's any better or worse for the other year. The track is in good shape. They did a really good job cleaning it last night. It was very dirty yesterday afternoon at three o'clock, but today, the track was good. So right away in the morning practice, times were quick, so I think everything is good.

Q. It's hot today and it's supposed to be hot again tomorrow, is this going to change anything or will it continue to make the track faster; do you expect anything out there?

PAUL TRACY: I don't think the temperature is to a point where it's too hot. It's pretty normal of summertime weather in the Midwest or anywhere else, not where Sebastien lives in Florida or where Patrick and I live; we're coming from 100-degree heat, so it's actually not too bad.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It's probably also why the performances are pretty good, because the tires are working very well when it's hot. It's pretty grippy and sticks very well. I think it's good it feels like that. Maybe we can see a track record.

ERIC MAUK: That will bring our press conference to a close. Thank you.



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