Champ Car World Series: Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix
Topics: Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix
August 31, 2007
ASSEN, THE NETHERLANDS
Q. If you can just give us a brief description of what you said in English as well --
ROBERT DOORNBOS: I wasn't talking about you. No, it's great to be here in Assen. It's a big venue and to see already so many fans on Thursday, practice is nice, very supportive. The track from the first couple of laps onward was very fast. Last year we take turn in seventh gear and speeds up to 300K, so it's really nice.
Yeah, we're looking strong. We improved the car a little bit before qualifying, and come qualifying it starts so rain, so, yeah, you know, it's a gamble. We were one of last cars on the track and unfortunately Michael was shouting to me -- Michael, my engineer, he was hoping to keep pace with Wilson to get the pole, so make it a good one. So I backed off like five, six seconds from Figge, but I caught him in one lap. Couldn't finish the lap properly. So it was disappointing for that point, otherwise would have been on the front row. Would have definitely been nice for Sunday but now we have to do it for tomorrow.
Q. Can you hear the fans cheering you on? We can definitely hear it in the media center.
ROBERT DOORNBOS: Yeah, I try to look sideways on the last chicane into the grandstand, but it's not ideal, I'm losing some traction there.
Q. Robert, any special strategy in case of a rainy weekend?
ROBERT DOORNBOS: Well, if it's a rainy weekend, normally I feel really comfortable on the wet. Now it was just a decision, do you keep the dry setup, or do you go medium or full wet?
We kept the dry setup. I think most of the cars did. When I was still in P1, I decided to put on the slicks but that was a bit tricky. So I think if it's wet-wet, I prefer it to really pour down and we can have a good, wet race.
If it's like this, no, you see a lot of lead changes I think.
Q. How different is the line that you take in the wet to the dry?
ROBERT DOORNBOS: Surprisingly not that different because it's quite a fast circuit. So you don't have -- and it's not that wide, so you don't have a lot of room to actually turn in lanes or look for a dirty part of the track.
And the curbs, there are so many curbs; in the dry, they are very friendly, but in the wet they are very slippery. So yeah, you carry some speed and you roll over them or if you go on power obviously you get some moments. But no, surprisingly it's quite quick in the wet.
THE MODERATOR: We welcome Simon Pagenaud. Congratulations, second quickest today, and with that you moved up in the Phanos Cup standings, you are a little closer to Newman/Haas. How about talking about that to start?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Hi, everyone. Congratulations to Justin, first.
We had a fantastic car from the beginning to the end. It's just we got blocked the last two laps, so I couldn't make a lap at the end. Couldn't make it. So it's a bit of a shame because the team did a very good job for my car and I can't thank them enough. I had a blast and it's a great track, lots of fun and I hope we're going to be able to make it tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Down in Belgium, you had a large contingent of family and friends, and looks like they followed you to Holland, as well.
SIMON PAGENAUD: We had 150 person at Heusden-Zolder and it was a big organization with a big suite and we received everyone. It was nice for my supporters over there. Twenty of them did a treat to come over here, so it's going to be nice to see all of them. It's better than it is in America for me because I don't have anyone over there, so I'm glad about that.
THE MODERATOR: Moving to our provisional pole-sitter, Justin Wilson, who guarantees himself a front row starting spot tomorrow.
You were looking around yesterday herding the sheep up and it doesn't seem to have affected you today.
JUSTIN WILSON: It's got better today. Each day it gets a little better and frees up a bit. It's not too painful but just limits the amount of motion. Fortunately in the race car my legs are quite bent, anyway, so that's not a problem.
THE MODERATOR: Talk us through your laps out there. You seem to be continually the fastest one on the track, and how are you able to go so fast in this rain setup?
JUSTIN WILSON: Well, everything was working well. The car was fantastic. So I've got to thank everybody on the #9 CDW car. They have worked hard this weekend and it's nice to be quick in the wet. We weren't quite as quick in the dry.
But we felt like we were in with a shout this weekend, so when it started to rain, I thought, this should be good. Yeah, sure enough, on my second run because it was kind of three shorter runs, my second run we ran very well. Unfortunately I think Will was on slicks and came out of the pits and held me up for half a lap. So I was quite frustrated that that ruined my last lap on a drying track with the wets.
But at the same time, the rain came down again, so we opted to go back out on the wet tires and, you know, was just pretty determined to get on with it, and hopefully the track would be dry enough for us to put a lap in.
Q. One question for two of you, same question for both drivers. Some drivers said the track was very narrow -- what about this one, are you saying it's quite narrow and difficult to drive?
JUSTIN WILSON: It's not too bad. I think it's about the right width. It's going to be very difficult for overtaking, though, because it's so fast and fine. So we're enjoying it a lot today and I'm sure we'll enjoy it tomorrow. But if you've got a quick car and you're stuck behind someone, it could be frustrating.
I think it's a fantastic track and I hope that we can do plenty more laps around here.
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, I would definitely say the same. It's not that the track is narrow; it's just you're a sweep in the straight line. Like when you come from turn ten to 15, you can't really pass over there, even if you are a lot quicker than anyone. So, yeah, it not going to be easy in the race for sure because you can't pass.
All of the passing are going to be in the pit, I guess, or during the race.
Q. At the start of the session, you seemed to be pretty desperate to get fast, was it more instructing him to move out of your way or him to back off?
SIMON PAGENAUD: No, we were just trying hard, and I think I was on warmer tires than he was. So he was trying to warm his tire and he held me for a while and I backed up. He did a mistake, I came back on him, he did another mistake and so I passed him without any order from the team.
Q. Were you guys both on dry setups or wet setups?
JUSTIN WILSON: Well, we were on dry just before qualifying and we changed it a little bit. So I wouldn't say that it was a wet setup, but we definitely saw the weather and thought if it does rain, it's not going to dry very quickly. It actually dries much quicker than we expected. So it will make an interesting race if it's like that.
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, we were, we were on dry, too, and we changed to a mid-soft, not completely soft for the rain, but went in between and it worked pretty well for us.
Q. It looked like you were a bit upset with Ryan at the end of the session. Did he block you and can you talk about what happened?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Well, yeah, I was. (Laughter) Yeah, he blocked me. I didn't want to say his name because I don't think it's fair. It could have happened to anyone in his mirror, but he blocked me for two laps. You know, in qualifying when you have a car to the -- it's quite frustrating to be blocked. I don't know if he saw me. I don't want really to know. I just hope that next time it's not going to happen again.
Q. Can you talk about the conditions around the track? It's a very long track; was it particularly wet anywhere or was it uniform or not around the track?
JUSTIN WILSON: For the first half of the session, it was from turn, I guess, 15, 16, all the way through to turn 5 was the wettest. So basically this end to the first part of the lap is the wettest, and then you go through the lap and you go dry and you could use more of a dry line and get some heat on the tires so when you get back to the wet part you'll be okay.
And then that completely flipped for the second part of qualifying.
Q. I don't think we've had a wet standing start this week, if that happens, how difficult will that be for the drivers?
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I don't think we've had a wet standing start. So it will be tricky, because everyone is trying to limit the wheel spin. You have to put so much work in other ways otherwise you'll stall. Hopefully we won't have too many problems and if that is the case, whenever it does happen, we'll be able to get the cars rolling and there won't be too much spray. Because it's the spray that's the real issue on a wet standing start. Once the cars are rolling, you're kicking all of the spray up into the air and if somebody stalls, it can be pretty dangerous.
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, that's going to be the main problem. But I think it's easier than to start in wet conditions because you have more wheel spin. So you're not going to stall but you can see more passing because some people does better start in the wet than the others. It could be very interesting. It could be very fun to watch.
Q. With that in mind, how important is it that you lock in a front row start for Sunday?
JUSTIN WILSON: It's great. I haven't really thought that far ahead yesterday. To know you're going to be on the front row definitely takes some of the pressure off, and now we're going to spend tomorrow working on the dry setup just in case the weather changes again.
You know, I feel pretty comfortable and confident the weekend is going to be pretty strong. But you just never can tell, so this goes a long way to securing that.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys, very much.
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