Champ Car World Series: Lexmark Indy 300
Topics: Lexmark Indy 300
October 21, 2007
SURFERS PARADISE, QUEENSLAND
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. We have our third- and second-place finishers from today's Lexmark Indy 300. A great race, obviously. In his 100th race as a Champ Car World Series driver, Bruno Junqueira, his 34th podium and his -- 35th podium, and three consecutive. He finished on the podium twice in Europe before we came to Australia.
Obviously you're getting a feel for your car. You're feeling good right now, Bruno. Take us a little bit through that race, including that wonderful start.
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: Today we had a very eventful day. I was third behind Sebastien and Justin. Felt my car very good in the warmup, much better than in practice and qualify. I was very confident. But two hours before the race, my mechanics find out a leak, oil leak in the engine. So I had to change the engine in a hurry. We put a fresh engine in the car. The car was ready just two minutes before the start of the race.
On the start, because you do the out lap without going full throttle, trying to save fuel on the parade lap, I don't know, when I went full throttle, the left the clutch the way I usually do, the car just bogged down and stalled.
I was first very lucky that nobody hit me from behind. Then the safe team did a very good job to start me. Then I kept racing. I started the race. I was like 57 seconds behind the leaders and realized I had to save fuel. I know that's not the right way, but the best strategy in case of a yellow, then I could have play well for me. So already start save fuel, keeping the 57 seconds difference from the leader. So I felt the car was really good.
Then on the first yellow came, the leaders pit, first or second yellow. Then I went to third. So you have a different strategy. My car was feeling really good. I passed Doornbos that was second on that strategy. Then I came and start to get Paul Tracy. Two laps to go, I was right behind Tracy, start to make pressure on him. But on the last lap, he had to pit to put fuel. Because I was saving fuel, catching up, open a chance for me to get the podium.
I'm very, very happy. Three podiums in a row for Dale Coyne. He was a team that wasn't used to be on the podium very often, but now we're doing a very good job, very hard work. I'm very happy. I hope we can keep doing great results.
My goal is to make this team that on the past everybody didn't pay much credit. I hope I can make Dale Coyne a very competitive team in the future to get their first win.
We were very close on the last three races. That put us in a good position in the championship. The team did a great job today on the pit stop and strategy. My car was very good, very fast, not just today, throughout the whole weekend. I'm enjoying a lot.
THE MODERATOR: Anything, as you know, can happen in Champ Car. That was an exciting finish. The TV was watching you and Paul. You were right on his back. Did you have any idea that he was going to pull into that pit?
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: No. I had no idea. And I knew that that was two laps to go. (Indiscernible) was faster than him on the fast chicane. The other ones, I wasn't really faster than him, so was difficult to pass. Then I say I have to try a bonsai in turn eight. That was a difficult one. I was thinking to do it.
Once the last lap, I came right behind him on a position to do it, and for some reason there was yellow flag. I said, Man, oh, man, I have to wait for the last lap. That's going to be exciting, try to pass Tracy on the last lap (laughter).
Then he pit. I said, Oh, that's good news. So could finish the race easy and save fuel because I needed to save a little bit of fuel anyway to finish the race. But was good anyway.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. Great race.
Finishing in second place was Justin Wilson, who obviously is always aiming for the top, but came up a little short today. Now you're in another interesting race for second place in the championship, you and Robert Doornbos are only eight points apart. Talk us through this race and perhaps looking forward to Mexico City.
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, this was very eventful. We had a few problems at the start as well. I let the clutch out. Everything was good. I was just getting a little bit of wheel spin. When I went to shift from first to second, I ended up in neutral. A couple of guys went by me. I was quite frustrated at that point.
Then Paul went off at the first corner. You know, it was just a matter of staying calm and not doing anything stupid. This race is always that way. After I think the first yellow, there was three people on the same strategy I was, or two people in front of me. I was running third behind Oriol and Sebastien. I was pretty comfortable with that. We were working out when to save fuel, when to push.
Then I was behind Oriol when he hit the wall at turn two. He hit it pretty hard. That allowed me to get on a roll. I got a run on him into turn five. After that, it was just a case of running down Sebastien. The car was working well.
THE MODERATOR: You had a magnificent pass on Sebastien. At that point were you thinking you had it?
JUSTIN WILSON: Well, no, because right as I was catching Sebastien up, my engineer came on the radio and said, You really need to pass Sebastien. Which at that point I worked out that we'd short-filled in the previous pit stop. What he's saying is we've got to get ahead of him and pull away quite a bit because we're going to stop much earlier in the last pit stop. It sunk in then that there's no time to hang about.
I managed to get by him into turn one, and then it was a case of closing in on P.T. I couldn't get by him, but fortunately it was only two laps before he pitted.
It was frustrating, but at the same time it was a lot of fun. The car was working well. I was able to put some quick times in. It just wasn't enough. Just pleased to get another podium. It's good for the championship. I, like all the people in RuSPORT, are very keen to get the No. 9 CDW car second into the championship.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.
Q. Justin, when you return here next year, who will you be driving for?
JUSTIN WILSON: Good question. I don't know yet. Obviously there's been a lot of speculation going on. It's sad to see RuSPORT, its future is uncertain. I'm just very grateful for everything that Dan has done to keep the team going this year. You know, I'm pleased for them. Pleased for the people working in it. You know, I'm pretty confident that we'll all end up with another job at some point because those guys are too good not to get another job. They're some of the best people I've worked with. I'm sure they'll get picked up.
Q. Justin, you were second last year. Looks like you might be second again this year. How do you feel about Sebastien going to Formula One?
JUSTIN WILSON: I'm actually very pleased for Sebastien. He's done a great job to win the championship four years in a row. At the same time I'm a bit disappointed because I want to beat him before he goes to Formula One. Everybody's going to be looking at that.
You know, there's not much I can do. Now he's going. He's won the championship. It's good for him.
Q. Bruno, you mentioned three consecutive podiums now for Dale Coyne Racing. How close do you feel the team is to breaking through to that elusive first victory?
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I think very close. I think we are doing great job. We been most of the time top five in the sessions. When the thing doesn't go good, like yesterday in qualify, we were seventh, it was like fifth, sixth is pretty much our position. I know when you run fifth and sixth in practice, I know that in the race I can do extra effort and maybe run top three. That's good.
Maybe one of the days going to get a little bit of lucky. One track like Mexico City, I love it, can get a good setup, maybe try for the win.
But anyway, just to be consistent, not just on the podium but all the sessions running good, that's the most important thing. So we start the year good, then went a little bit down, then we were consistent the last five, six race, so I'm enjoying that.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys. We'll do Team Australia interviews. We'll start first with Mr. Power.
Obviously something happened there with your left wrist, disappointment today. Tell us a little bit about how it played out.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, once again in the first stint we had to pit under yellow. All the cars are compressed. There's a lot of mayhem in the pit lane. Unfortunately I got sent early. Just a simple mistake. The guy left a lollypop and sent into another car, which bent the steering arm, then we're on the back foot. From that point on, the steering wasn't straight. The suspension was slightly bent. So the car wasn't behaving exactly how it should.
Then trying to charge back through the field, got a run on Katherine Legge. I guess the car stepped out a little bit and grabbed her back wheel and threw me into the wall.
A disappointing day. You know, once again, the same as last year, we have the car, had everything in place to win the race, but, you know, just bad luck. These things happen.
Feel disappointed for all the fans that came out to watch us today. Feel disappointed for Craig Gore, as well. Unfortunately he couldn't be here. You know, we'll lift above it, move on. We've got to race in Mexico. Try and win that one.
Q. Simon, tell us about your race, up and down the grid, didn't know where you were going to finish, but ended up with a great result. Tell us how you felt the race went for yourself.
SIMON PAGENAUD: We had a very good car. The car was just fantastic all race. Just the race is not as good as it should be, the fuel save mode, because all race, I just save fuel and not push a hundred percent. It was pretty disappointing I would say from a racing point of view. I think we need to work on that for next year to make the race a bit more interesting for the drivers and the fans also.
But I was really pleased because we worked really well on that car during the practice and in qualifying. In the race I had a really good car. It was very fun to drive. I was also very pleased to see so much Team Australia flags on the side of the track. I could even see it when driving. It was really nice. It's great to feel so much support coming here.
I'm disappointed for Will. He had the pace to win today. But we're going to try to come back again to win next year.
THE MODERATOR: A lot of emotions today, some good, some bad. Put this in perspective on how Will and Simon did for you this weak.
DERRICK WALKER: We certainly came here with a well thought-out plan. A lot of work went into engineering the cars, getting the car we thought we needed to win with. I think we actually achieved that part of our mission.
But as it played out, we did make a mistake. The rest is history. I think we take away from this that we've come a long way on this program, which is really only into its third year pretty well. So we're getting stronger as each year goes by. But still today's result, we had a car to win and there's no excuse.
We'll go back and regroup and learn something from this day, come back and hopefully win next year. There's obviously the potential there to do very well. We've just got to get a few bugs sorted out.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Simon, you've gone very well so far this year. How do you think you will go in 2008? Do you think you'll be able to break through for your first victory or challenge Will for the championship next year?
SIMON PAGENAUD: I think we have been stronger and stronger every race. Today was a very good day. I mean, I have not been doing any mistake. The race car was better than it has ever been this year. I really understand the racing now, really understand the strategy and everything. So I think next year, you know, by stepping back during the winter, when I'm going to jump in the car again, I think I should be ready for be a contend for the championship next year. That was really the goal this year and to be able to win next year, so I think we have a chance.
Q. Will, this is probably dependent on whatever happens with your medical, but do you feel confident you'll be right with your wrist injury ahead of Mexico?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I think so. I've got to get an x-ray. My physio is pretty sure it's not broken. It's pretty sore. Hopefully it's good.
Q. Some pretty colorful language last year when Sebastien took you out. Was it difficult to bite your tongue this time around when it was one of yours that really caused your demise?
WILL POWER: Yeah. I mean last year also in the pit lane, a Forsythe car drilled me into the wall, which caused damage to the car. Once again, I mean, it's nothing to do with Forsythe. Just we got let go early. Just a mistake. Nothing we can do about it.
The guy that made the mistake is usually flawless with his work. It happens. We're all human. We're not computers. It's just one of those things. You can't go around blaming people. It's just what happened.
Q. Simon, rookie. What did you think of the of the track?
SIMON PAGENAUD: As a rookie? Frightening (laughter). That was my first word. Yeah, it's really honest. That was my first word when I jumped out of the car after the first session. Frightening because it's really fast. I drove on Monaco before, but it's nothing compared to Surfers Paradise. I had a blast. It's just at the beginning you need to be confident, trust your car. When you handle it really well, it's so much fun to drive. I would be very glad to come back next year.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen. We'll have Champ Car World Series four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais coming up soon.
Sebastien Bourdais, four consecutive Champ Car World Series championships. The first driver to ever win a second race here in Surfers Paradise. Obviously, fairly decent day for you today. Tell us a little bit about your emotions right now and how you felt coming around that last turn.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, it's been quite above average, I should say. You know, it's just the success of an awesome group of people within that McDonald's team. We started that relationship back in 2003. Just all the results really speak for themselves. You know, it's how good these guys are. And they proved it today again when we came in the pits in third and came out first. From there, it was in my hands to try to make it stick.
We had a great fight with Justin when he short-filled and got ahead of us. Then we had to, you know, stay with him with a heavier car, and we pulled it off. Then coming to that last corner, it's just all the emotions flowing through your mind. Just you realize how much has come to you and how much you've achieved with these guys and you get the sense that it's coming to an end very closely now.
What a fun five years it's been. I'm surely not going to forget about it any time soon.
THE MODERATOR: Obviously you had to deal with the fact that you had already committed to going to Formula One next year. You're a champion who stays focused. How were you able to kind of stay in touch with what you wanted to do, which was complete this year, still one more race ahead of you?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I think, you know, obviously I hold these guys my total dedication. We've been working really hard together, as I said, for these past five years. You know, I just couldn't stand myself if I didn't give it all I had until the very end. They deserve the very best, and we're going to do just that until the very end.
Obviously to win that championship with a win today means a lot. At least we'll be in a mood to celebrate and have a great party. That's good. There's one more race to go before we turn the page of my Champ Car career, and we'll just give it our very best again in Mexico City. It's a place that's been very good to us in the past years, and now we'll try and have one more time a lot of fun and, if possible, a win.
Obviously it's a great challenge that awaits me for next year with the Toro Rosso team. Obviously the long-time dream for me to end up in F1. Like I said, so far I'm a Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver, driving that McDonald's car. I'll think about next year when it's time.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Will you be missing Surfers Paradise next year when you're in Formula One?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It's obviously a very tricky place. It's been good to us. We won twice there and finished second in 2004. We've been plenty fast many times. Maybe this weekend we were not the quickest. Will probably should have deserved a little better than what he got.
But, you know, it's a tough world out there. I can speak about it because I've been there before. You know, you just bounce back even stronger after these bad days. As far as I'm concerned, it's a great track, it's extremely challenging. It's not very forgiving. In order to be fast, you really have to push super-hard and force yourself to attack these braking points, throw the car into the chicanes, hop the curves, just manage to take care of these tire bundles and walls.
It's a big, big, big challenge. I really enjoyed it for sure. It's very much in line with the spirit of Champ Car where it's spectacular. You've got to really work for it. Yeah, it's probably what I'll miss the most of Champ Car, if you take aside the sentimental feelings that obviously link me to that Newman/Haas/Lanigan team.
Q. How does winning the championship for the fourth time compare to the other three times? You've had a big year this year with competing at LeMans. How does this compare to your second place at LeMans?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I think if you look at it as a whole, 2007 is definitely a year to be remembered for me. Again, seven wins, six poles, finishing second at the 24, kind of qualifying for Formula One next year with these tests with Toro Rosso, you don't get so many chances in your career to drive in the same year an F1, sports car (indiscernible), and a Champ Car for the crown. I have to say I've got some tough time to put it into words because it's such unbelievable that it's a little difficult.
THE MODERATOR: Let's not forget your rally driving, as well.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: That's the one thing I know I'm not destined for. Probably should stick to road racing.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Congratulations, Sebastien.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Thank you.
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