Champ Car World Series: Molson Indy Montreal
Topics: Molson Indy Montreal
ERIC MAUK: We'll start with our second place finisher from today's Molson Indy Montreal, Round 10 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Patrick Carpentier. He becomes the first driver in the three years we have run here in Montreal to finish on the podium twice. This is his 20th career podium finish, his third of the year. Pat, this has got to be a big one for you. How does it feel?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: It feels really good. I'm really happy because Friday didn't start too well. We didn't run qualifying, but it gave us the opportunity to save a lot of tires for the race. All we had for the race were stickers. So it worked out well for us. We did a little bit better on Saturday, but still improved the car for this morning. The car was fast in the race. At the beginning of the race, we kind of knew everybody was going to start with the soft compound, then we decide to start with the harder compound. We were hoping to stick with them in the pit stop and later in the race we throw the red labels, which is the soft compound, on the car. Behind these cars, the guys was really good and we saved a lot of fuel. At the end we pit stop quite a few laps later. Our pit stop was really short because we didn't need a lot of fuel. When I went back out at the end, I had to save quite a bit of fuel. I kept arguing with the team. They wanted me to save fuel. I saw Mario coming behind me pretty quickly. I don't know if he had 'push to pass' left or not, but I didn't want to find out, so I was pushing pretty hard, but trying to save fuel at the same time. Bruno was a little bit too fast for us to catch. So it worked out really well. I know some guys had some bad luck, but I've had a few bad luck in the last few race. So I'll take this one.
ERIC MAUK: What did you see on the start there?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, I was kind of trying to save myself from what was happening. I tried to pass on the outside, and I felt a couple of guys didn't seem to stop, and Alex hit Paul, then Paul went in the grass. Paul maybe hit AJ. A few guys hit each other. Tried to go to the inside, but Paul started spinning towards the inside. I was going to get caught like in Elkhart Lake. I kind of slowed down and Alex went by. Only lost one place, but gained one because AJ had a flat tire.
ERIC MAUK: Congratulations.
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Thank you.
ERIC MAUK: We are joined by our third place finisher, driver of the #55 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Herdez Competition, Mario Dominguez. His second podium finish of the season, the seventh of his career, his first since Monterrey, Mexico this year. Mario, third place finish, tell us about the way it went.
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: Obviously I'm disappointed, you know. I never thought I'd be disappointed finishing third. But we really had the race covered very well. I passed Sebastien after the first pit stop, then pulled away from him. That just shows you how good of a car we had. He's been the fastest driver all year. To actually pass him, the Herdez team and I were just working together very well. Then I got to the pits and had a problem with the wheel gun. Went to change my tire, I think I look like something over 20 something seconds, 28 or something in the pit. So that's where we lost the race. That was too bad, but we managed to bring it back home on the podium. Very happy about that.
ERIC MAUK: You guys had a great battle, you Patrick and Paul going for second for quite a number of laps right about the halfway point of the race. Tell us about that battle.
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: Yeah, it was pretty good. Running really close together, the three of us. Just basically I couldn't pass them. I could run really close, but couldn't pass them. They were both having a very good battle between each other. I was hoping they would both make a mistake and I could go by, but that didn't happen (laughter). It was fun. It was fun racing like that. It's too bad. I really wanted to win, especially for my friend Antonio, my manager, their son passed away last week. I wanted to dedicate this win for them. That's why I was pushing so hard, pulling for it. But I'm still glad to be (inaudible).
ERIC MAUK: You had a bit of a back problem after the race. Are you all right?
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: Yeah, I had a cramp in my back. It hurts a lot. Having a hard time moving around.
ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. Great result. The winner of the Molson Indy Montreal, driver of the #6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman/Haas Racing, Bruno Junqueira. Bruno gets his first victory of the year, the sixth of his career, the first driver since Bobby Rahal in 1982-1985 to win races in each of his first four years on the Champ Car World Series circuit. Bruno, the series had owed you one probably all year. You took advantage of it today.
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I mean, today was a very close race. I did a very good start, passed AJ, almost passed Mario. I was just behind Mario saving fuel. Then the yellow flag came. On the restart, I did two good laps. I tried to save fuel, the tires, I let Mario go away a little bit. My car wasn't handling that well after the restart. But I was like two seconds behind him. I was in an okay position. He did a very good pit stop. I'm sure that they short fuel it. Gave him the opportunity to go and pass Sebastien, although he stopped one lap earlier. I don't think he was taking fuel when me and Sebastien was taking fuel. Then I didn't know what happened to him. I know that I just pass him on the pits, saw the thing what happened with Sebastien and AJ. I was just calling Sebastien, see if he was well. The PacifiCare car was really great. I was just waiting for the end of the race to attack and to see where I am and who I need to race with. When Sebastien came out of the race, Mario had the problem in the pit stops, gave me a big lead. Actually two strongest guys at that point on lap times and on the racetrack had problems and gave me the opportunity to lead the race. Then it was really hard. I mean, put in some fast laps. I had like a 10-second lead and I just kept it. Then I got like eighth because I got some traffic. I just kept the concentration high and tried to push hard to get good lap times, but without making any mistakes. This track is very easy to make mistakes because you get very high speed and very hard braking. Then I drove very secure, without pushing too hard, but a good pace. The PacifiCare car was great. Brought the first win of the year. Was very good. I'm very, very happy for me and my whole team. We've been working so hard this year. Most of races been very competitive, fighting for the win. I got a lot of second places this year. For some reason, never got the win. Today everything came our way. Maybe, I said before, there was at least three races that I was the strongest guy out there and that deserve the win, and didn't. Today I felt that I was strong as Mario and Sebastien. We were pretty much on the same level. One of the three of us could win the race. I think the luck came to my side at least once, and I'm quite happy of that. Gave me good position in the championship, on the fight of the championship. I'm never going to give up, work very hard, try to catch Sebastien for the championship. I think I can. I can reverse it. Like four races ago, I was leading. I had three bad races. He had three good ones, and he pass me, open a big gap. I hope I can get another three good races. Last I want to really thank my mom and my girlfriend who came all the way from Brazil to bring the good luck to get the first win of the year. Je suis tres felice.
ERIC MAUK: Which is more important for you coming out of this weekend, getting that first win of the year or lopping 28 points off Sebastien's lead, you're unofficially now 34 points behind him?
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: Get the first win. I think the boys been working very hard, and someone asked me if I took the monkey out of my back. I guess that's the right American slang to say because I did a lot of good races this year. For some reason I didn't got the win. Today to get the first win is going to give me, myself as a driver, and my whole PacifiCare team a lot of confidence towards the last race of the year.
ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. Unofficially after 10 events, Sebastien Bourdais is our points leader with 258, Bruno has closed to 34 points behind with 224, Paul Tracy third with 203, Alex Tagliani fourth with 183, Patrick Carpentier fifth with 181, and Mario Dominguez right behind them with 176, just five back in the sixth spot. We'll take questions from the media.
Q. Do you believe in momentum? How important was it to stop the gap and close it down?
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I mean, I've been taking that a little bit on the last few races. I mean, even the last session, that last race, Toronto, things were not going right for me and going very well for Sebastien. He had a really good momentum. Gave him and his team a lot of confidence. Now I hope with this win is going to give us momentum, as well. I don't want to take his momentum. I want a fair shot, but that going to give us confidence. I know that we can win, but we didn't on the first nine race of the year. Now I show that we can win and I think that's going to give us the momentum of the last four race of the year for us to fight on the championship.
Q. Pat, I realize you've been thinking this could possibly have been your last race in Canada in this series. Does that make this podium finish that much more important to you?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, we haven't made a decision yet. But it's fantastic. I'm really happy. I'm more happy because Alain worked so hard to put this event together, and he had a few things going wrong. And it seems like the event was not going to happen at one point. Five weeks ago there was nothing, no grandstands, the fences. He had to do a double work to finish that. Alain is my agent also, so he did the race here. He did a great job. I was really happy for him not to have rain today. People showed up, filled out the grandstand. That's what he was hoping for. So I'm kind of happy for that. I'm really happy to have another podium. The first year we were running second behind Dario Franchitti. The engine gave up. So we got that second place back.
Q. Pat, just wondering, does this podium make that decision to (inaudible)?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: It's going to be mostly a business decision. We're going to decide within the next month or so. We're going to talk to Jerry and a few people. We'll see how it goes. But right now, I don't know.
Q. Pat, if you are to be back next year, Montreal Molson Indy, are you going to bother showing up on Friday?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Maybe I shouldn't show up anymore. Gave us quite a few brand-new sets of tires for the race. It was pretty good. But, you know, what, it's good to have a teammate like Paul, you know, because if you don't run on Friday, he runs. He keeps adjusting the car. If he doesn't run, I run. We exchange a lot of information. We had different settings today for the race and I think my settings, and I think my settings worked a little bit better. But to have two teammates that run hard this year, I think there's been a lot of rumor and stuff like that. But this year I've been really happy with the team. They've really given me the same equipment, same thing as Paul. I've been treated really well. Of course, at the beginning of the year, it was a bit of a tough thing, but it's been great. I just want to clarify that because I know there's been a lot of rumors about that. But it's fantastic. So now maybe in Laguna Seca I'll fly in on Friday.
ERIC MAUK: Patrick is the defending winner at Laguna Seca.
Q. Mario, was the back bothering you in the car or did this happen after you got out?
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: Well, normally in the car, it's funny, you can have the biggest problem or pain in the world, but you normally don't feel it very much because you're so focused and you're so concentrated, so your mind doesn't even have time to think about pain. But the moment I got out, I got just like cramped up.
Q. Mario, obviously your pit stop is very frustrating. Can you tell us your thoughts on the car at that time and a little bit about your charge back up to a podium finish?
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: Well, obviously you can see it taking longer and longer and longer. By the time you're almost 30 seconds in the pit, you know you can't win. Pretty much going to be very, very hard to do it. Just got -- just thought, "Okay, keep focused, keep your composure, just push as hard as you can, do your best." I knew I had a strong car. That's what I did. Hopefully, you know, thankfully we managed to finish on the podium. But it's too bad. It just hurts.
Q. Mario, obviously you were very competitive. Would you characterize this as your best race? Would you say that was the case?
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: Yeah. It's just when you have a good car, it makes such a difference. It's so much easier to drive around fast, you know. I've had places where I've finished fifth, but I think (inaudible) I haven't had a great car, I've had to work three times harder. But definitely it's one of the best races, if not one of the best cars I've had in my whole Champ Car career today. I'm really happy. Just shows the improvement the whole team has done, especially my engineer, Mike, starting to communicate a lot better. It's amazing. You know, I know what to ask for, he knows what to give me. In Denver we had it going pretty good. It's looking good every time.
Q. Bruno, could you just talk about the moment when you knew Sebastien was done, what was going through your mind at that time?
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I knew that I had to go flat out, fast as possible at that moment. AJ is still leading the race. I didn't know, because of the yellow flag in the race, how the strategy were going to be, you know. Then I had to do some really fast laps. And then when I got the lead, the team told me on the radio that AJ was pretty much the only fast guy on the different strategy. There was Tracy, Carpentier and Mario fighting for the second place. I had that 10 seconds lead. I try to keep focused, having good pace on the race. And that's what I did. It was very hard. I mean, pretty much all my Champ Car career wins, I was race so hard in the end of the race. Some race I was leading like I remember, I don't know, in Denver 2002, I was leading by 20 seconds, 10 laps to go a yellow flag, bunch everybody together. Same happened last year in Denver. Elkhart, I was big lead, but then in the rain is never easy. It's always hard. This time, I mean, I didn't have anybody close to me. It's hard as well because it's very difficult to have to keep concentrated and keep a good pace. I couldn't allow like Pat to take half a second each lap because if he start to go much faster than me, he gets confidence, and then I get the traffic, then the things can get not nice. Then I have to keep a good pace but without making mistakes. Is not easy, especially on this track.
Q. Bruno, have you seen the accident? You witnessed the accident?
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: Yeah, I was just a little bit behind Sebastien. It's very difficult, the angle. I see that him and AJ went to the corner. AJ brake inside. Sebastien had cold tires. They had a contact. More than that, it's like I was maybe three seconds behind Sebastien. It's like in a position that you can't really tell what's happen. The only thing I saw is like Sebastien had a flat tire.
Q. So you don't think it could be avoided?
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I have no -- I cannot comment on that because I was not like just behind Sebastien that I could say if it was AJ fault or Sebastien fault or racing incidents. What I can say for sure is Sebastien had cold tires and AJ hot tires. Those are the situations that is difficult because the guy on hot tires want to pass and the guy on cold tires difficult to manage as well. It was a shame that that happened. But gave me the opportunity to take the lead of the race at that moment.
Q. We've changed the rules a few times. Now we're at the point where we have one mandatory pit stop towards the end of the race and the pace car comes out after the pit stops on a yellow. If you could comment about how you like the way these rules are now.
PATRICK CARPENTIER: I think it's good. You know what happened at Elkhart. There was a lot of luck taken away from Alex, he should have won so many times, had so much bad luck. It kind of reversed the race and all the fast guys ended up at the back. It's the objective of that new rule, and I think it's working pretty well. We kind of can stop when we want, save a little bit of fuel. There's still a lot of action. I think the best decision Champ Car took this year was the 'push to pass'. This is unbelievable. It's like a video game. You're following the guy, following the guy, you see his light going, you're like, "Yeah, must be out soon." Like with Paul today, kept using it, kept using it, had three seconds left. I was like, "Got to be out, got to be out." I pushed it and made the pass. Without that, I never would have passed him because less downforce. I think it made everything pretty interesting and to keep improving every weekend. I think it's a good decision.
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I think as Pat said, as I said before, the 'push to pass' is great. The best thing they made in the series in a long, long time. Great decision. Make the race more exciting for the fans and for the driver, as well. I think the new rules is much, much better. I think the rules last year wasn't great. Now I think is much better, is a good race. The only down point, you have to save fuel. Like I said, I was just behind Mario saving fuel. Maybe the last two years you didn't have to save fuel. But apart of that, shows as well the driver's ability to save fuel. Is not a bad thing, you know, because you don't have the (inaudible) on the steering you used to have, you save fuel by. This that's not good. Now if the driver is capable to save fuel and keep close to the guy in front, okay, then I think I like the way it is. It's pretty nice.
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: I'm happy with the rules. But like Bruno says, you know, we don't like to go out there and save fuel. We want to go flat out. That's the best racing. But it's definitely getting much better. It's a big improvement from what we had at the beginning of the year. So we're getting there.
PATRICK CARPENTIER: I think it makes it fun because you save fuel and the guy behind you has so many seconds of 'push to pass'. There's a limit to how much before everybody would start saving fuel and slow down. Now I think with that, like I was trying to save fuel in front of Mario, but I couldn't save too much because I knew he was coming and probably had some 'push to pass' left, yeah.
Q. Bruno, saving fuel, watching in turn one, there were quite a few times when you were locking the brakes. You were talking earlier about having to work the brakes in order to save fuel. Was that part of that? How would you explain that?
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: Yeah, I think I had throughout the middle of the stints, there was a path throughout the middle of the stints that my car wasn't too good. When I was behind Mario in the race, I could follow him and had great fuel mileage very easily. After the restart, start to lock the fronts because, one thing I remember last year, I end up spinning on the hairpin because I had too much (inaudible). I didn't want to take the risk. I said better lock the fronts than lock the rear and spin. I was like trying to save fuel. I was like lift very much earlier before the braking point. Especially in that corner, it's a good place to save fuel and brake very late. Sometimes I had left front locking, especially in that corner. That was the only corner was bother me, maybe six or seven times throughout the race. But on the other hand I had a pretty clean race without mistakes. Sometimes like making two or three small mistakes, but this race I was just clean. I lock the brakes a little bit, but that did allow me to go really faster on the middle stint. But was a pretty clean race for me.
ERIC MAUK: That will bring an end to our press conference. We go racing in two weeks at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Thank you.
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