Champ Car World Series: Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe's Sports and Outdoor
Topics: Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe's Sports and Outdoor
June 9, 2007
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started. Today's press conference may seem like déjà vu because we have our top three starters for tomorrow, which happens to be our top three qualifiers from yesterday as well.
Earning his fifth career pole is Justin Wilson, driver the driver of the #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone. Your fifth career pole, second here at Portland. How does that fare for you for tomorrow?
JUSTIN WILSON: Hopefully it's going to be very good. We had a fairly sunny start of the season as far as our Champ Car history, so looking forward to that. Hopefully we can get a nice clean start and get into the first corner with all the bits still on the car and go from there.
THE MODERATOR: What was your strategy for today? You knew you had a spot on the front row locked up. Were you going out there to get the point?
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I wanted the point, and I wanted to prove my point as well. But at the same time, we had to still make sure we had a race car for tomorrow because there's times when you're sliding around and you can't see what's ahead of you.
You don't want to do anything silly and run into the back of anyone or lift up too early and have someone run into the back of me. So just trying to pick my moments and put a good lap in when it was time.
THE MODERATOR: And starting second will be Robert Doornbos. Robert earned his second starting position not based on his time from yesterday which was quicker than today's time, but because he did go quickest today with a time of 71.629. Robert, how was it out there?
ROBERT DOORNBOS: Felt like home actually, in Holland. It was really wet, and I was pleasantly surprised. I think I can say the Bridgestone tires were extremely good for me the first two laps. It was also part our strategy basically being that first thing in the morning it was wet. We felt that the grip of the tire was there for two laps and then sort of decreased, so we decided to save all the tires for qualifying.
And, yeah, it worked out well. Felt quite comfortable. Like Justin said as well, it's difficult to get a clear lap in and to see the difference between the drivers is quite big. I almost hit a guy -- I pushed a guy over the timing line really because he was driving so slow in the chicane. So not the best lap, but good enough and a great motivation boost for the team and for myself for tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: And, Robert, out there it seems like it's very, very important to start up near the front with this afternoon's Atlantics starts. The view from the back is going to be pretty abysmal.
ROBERT DOORNBOS: Exactly. No, of course -- well, I didn't see the weather forecast. I don't think it's going to be as bad as today. If it is, we're in a good situation. Justin and myself will be at the front so we'll have a clear view.
Because it doesn't really matter if you have one or twenty cars in front of you, in the spray, you just can't see anything. Yeah, it is good to do a standing start in these conditions. Probably have to do a grandpa get-away with not too much wheel spin, but we'll see how it goes.
THE MODERATOR: And starting third will be driver of the #1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone, Sebastien Bourdais. Sebastien, how was it out there for you today?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Just a little disappointed I guess because this morning the car felt really good and we were already thinking to have a shot at the pole. As soon as we started qualifying it didn't seem to grip for us. Going around, the grip never came in. Don't quite know what happened, so we just kind of tried different things and didn't get quite much out of it, so while trying a little harder I spun the car. And just didn't have any grip.
We'll see tomorrow what the conditions are. But I think it's, you know, in the championship view it's still pretty good. I think starting third here is all right, and we'll see. It's going be to be a long and tough race tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: And it seems like the weather for tomorrow is 50/50 as to whether it's going to be wet or dry. Do you guys know overnight what you think you're going to do for tomorrow?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, like Justin said, probably sleep and then go from there. Not much we can do about the weather. It will be what it will be, and hopefully not dreadful conditions for the fans. For us it doesn't really matter, but for the fans it would be a real shame because it's going to be a wet spectacle. Hopefully it doesn't get there.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Sebastien. Now we'll open it up to questions from our media.
Q. For all three of you, you have experience with standing starts in the rain can you talk about it a little bit.
ROBERT DOORNBOS: Well, yeah, it's obviously a different strategy. There's no point in sitting down the limits there and just spinning the tires. You know, in a Junior Formula I sometimes made a start in second gear just to get the get-away right. It's the drag afterwards that counts with these tires.
There's no resistance for it at the moment, there's no launch control, no button on the steering wheel. Just have to do it yourself with your two feet.
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, if the conditions get too bad we actually go to rolling starts in Europe. If it's like it was today for the Atlantics, typically I've seen the race be started behind the pace car when they do a few laps and try and clear some water before they go for it.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, there's not much to say. Like Justin said, if it's really bad probably like we did in Montreal, and that's probably the safest way to do it. We'll see what happens tomorrow.
Q. Robert, do you feel that with the way you are performing in both dry and wet conditions that you are poised for your first win?
ROBERT DOORNBOS: That was great. Obviously that's the next step what we're looking for. The podiums are nice, but winning is something really special, and everything needs to fall into place. The team is obviously new to the series and these guys have teams that are very experienced.
I'm trying to motivate everybody, and myself I feel very confident and committed to doing a good job here in the States. Yeah, looking forward to get this first win in no matter what conditions. Rain or dry the car is improving every time, and hopefully we can -- it would be great to do it again tomorrow. We'll see
Q. What are the worst conditions to drive in, extremely wet or not too wet?
ROBERT DOORNBOS: Well, I think with these tires it's like extreme wet. Back last year in Formula One we would use an intermediate tire and then the extreme wet tire which you would use -- the intermediate you would use in semi-dry/wet conditions, and the tire would actually be quite good. Sort of turn into a slick near the end of session and you could do competitive times.
But with these tires I prefer it to be really wet like this, otherwise it's just a lot of sliding. If the track is just a bit dry and greasy you're not going anywhere and just fighting the car. This way the tires can do a good job and get rid of the water to all the grooves. Yeah, so I feel quite comfortable on these tires. Looking forward to see how they are in the race.
Q. When it starts to puddle out there does it start to wrench at the steering wheel?
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, there's a definitely few puddles on this start straight. Couple of times I pulled up line just to gain some visibility and you hit some of these puddles and the car starts to move around, and you just hope that it -- you know, it ventures in your hands and then this goes live and you're not sure what to expect next.
Q. You mentioned yesterday that there is more passing in the rain, do you think that will be the case tomorrow?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Probably, because there are cars that are good in certain conditions and not as good in others. The combination of the two you end up with a more diversified pace. It's always very challenging for the drivers.
It also depends on if the weather is in between some guys decide to go with a dry, and sometimes you decide to go with a wet set up, and sometimes you decide to go in between. It definitely opens up the solutions, and you just hope that you're making the right choice. But on the racetrack, it definitely shows a lot of different pace.
Q. In the Atlantic post-race press conference some drivers mentioned that they change lines when driving in the wet, can you talk about that?
ROBERT DOORNBOS: Well, a little bit of course for everybody that starts racing. In the wet we take the outside line and if it's dry you take the inside line. Obviously you look for the more dirty part of the track. You're looking for grip. Because just on the rubber you're sliding.
Every surface has their own characteristics with rivers crossing over the track. And here with different pieces of tarmac it can become very slippery. It's really fun to explore where the grip is and to put the lap together.
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