Champ Car World Series: Generac Grand Prix
Topics: Generac Grand Prix
August 11, 2007
ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our press conference following final qualifying for the Generac Grand Prix at Road America. We're going to get started here first with our third-place starter, Robert Doornbos, second quickest today.
Robert, on your first stint out, you had a little bit of a problem losing your dash.
ROBERT DOORNBOS: Yeah, I did actually. I had no idea what lap times I was doing. You know, I had to communicate with the team. But on the main straight here with the engine revvs quite high, they were shouting the lap time, it was very hard to understand.
But, yeah, we overcome the problem. More importantly this afternoon was in between the outings that the red tires went on the car because we have a new red set left from yesterday, and I sort of got a little voice in my head that said, No, no, no, I need the blacks.
I changed the tires because the reds yesterday were also a big of a struggle for me. Last minute we changed it, so there was a bit of panic in pit lane. But the guys did a great job.
Once I was out on the track, I just felt the tires were good. Yeah, again, my engineer was shouting the lap times through the radio. A good team effort I would say today.
THE MODERATOR: Starting second on the front row will be Will Power. Will, unfortunately weren't able to go as fast today as you were able to go yesterday. How was it out there starting second?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, it's great to be starting on the front row, of course. But, you know, with Sebastien's time, I think we're all a little bit concerned. But, you know, you've seen what happens in races: anything can happen. You know, we're going to give it our best shot.
I have to stay in qualifying, we really struggled on the reds. I made a late call to go on blacks, but it was too late, so I had to run the red tires.
Yeah, we didn't improve. It was really tough to get a lap.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our polesitter, Sebastien Bourdais. Sebastien, you had a few problems in the morning practice today, but obviously you were able to overcome that to take the pole.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, this morning we had some kind of gearbox issue, something broke at the back. I don't know exactly what it is, at least not in English (laughter). It just kind of broke. We did one lap. That was that.
Just very, very happy that the McDonald's car was super fast again. It was very consistent for us. To be very honest, we haven't changed anything on the car since yesterday. It just felt just as well. It just proves we had a really good read at the test, and had a very productive work. It's about as good as it gets. It was a fantastic lap. You know, really had a great, great time driving this car.
We'll see how it goes tomorrow. It's going to be a completely different story. Might be raining. Might be doing anything, since we're on the pole and dominant (laughter). I guess we'll see what happens. We've been in this position before and we still managed to lose it, so I'm not going to say anything about the race really.
THE MODERATOR: Now we'll open it up to questions.
Q. Will, the fact that you managed to stay in second place despite the fact you didn't improve on your speed, is that surprising to you?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I'm surprised that no one went quicker today, especially myself. I think I could have gone quicker had I used blacks. The reds, I don't know what the deal is. I really would expect the reds to be quicker, especially on a track here with such long-loading corners.
Just, yeah, it wasn't there. But luckily I did a good time yesterday. Start on the front row.
Q. You guys were talking yesterday about how you thought the rubber that was down there didn't appear to be down there. Was it better today?
WILL POWER: Yeah, the car actually felt better today. I mean, yesterday with the conflicting rubber, it felt really weird. The car felt really unbalanced. But the time was quicker. I guess it's just a little confusing.
Q. (No microphone.)
ROBERT DOORNBOS: I wasn't giving him any help parking his motorhome earlier on (laughter).
No, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sebastien for his deal with Formula One. I understand it must be a good feeling. Yeah, to be so dominant today, obviously for us it's a worry, like Will said.
But the race is very long. It's an hour and 40 minutes. As we've seen in the last couple of races, anything can happen.
But personally I'm very happy that we're up front, competitive. In our own little championship, Will. We'll just see what the race brings. We'll push very hard and hopefully everything comes towards us.
Q. (No microphone.)
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I think on the splits, it's going to be a little bit everywhere. The car for me, the track was a lot better today, no question about it. I was flat where I wasn't yesterday.
WILL POWER: Flat through the Carrousel?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Not quite. I tried this one a couple of times, and it never, ever worked out.
So, no, it's one of these places where when you get into a rhythm, you just really enjoy yourself and have a great time. That's what happened today. Just the car was super well-balanced. You know, you get in a flow and you enjoy yourself. Usually when you do that, it goes fast. That's what happened.
Q. (No microphone.)
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, I didn't know what the others were doing out there. I knew what had happened after the first run. Actually I told Craig, Should we go back out there, because it doesn't seem like anybody's going to come and get us? In the meantime, when points come double like that towards the end of the season, actually we're not close to the end of the season, but from there on everything you take will be very important. You feel very stupid when you try not to attempt a qualifying run and somebody nips you on the line.
We just decided to go for it. I knew the first lap was going to be good. Then since I knew the second one was going even better, I kept going. You don't even feel like you're risking much when it goes that well. I just had a great time.
Q. What was the difference for you between yesterday and today?
ROBERT DOORNBOS: Well, because it's such a long track, basically you can try different downforce levels. Yesterday it caught us out. We were a bit too enthusiastic. We took a bit too much off and struggled in the corners.
Today I think we found the right balance. We also improved the car a bit mechanically. Yeah, we have to work very hard to get the car here. But slowly, slowly we're getting more competitive, as well, with the car.
I think we did quite a good job to be where we are now, and hopefully we can continue tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys.
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