Portland Day 1: Bourdais fastest [Editor's Note: The Panoz is already under the lap times of the Lola Champ Car.] On the heels of three straight races to start the 2007 Champ Car World Series season, teams and drivers barely had time to take a breath before returning to the track to continue testing the new DP01. Five teams with ten drivers made the trek to the Great Northwest and Portland International Raceway to continue to log miles and gather valuable data from the new car.
Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and his Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing teammate Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) rode the momentum of their 1-2 finish at the Grand Prix of Houston to unofficially take the top-two spots on the laps charts with laps of 57.18 and 58.13 seconds respectively.
Sitting third on the lap sheet is RSPORTS driver, Alex Tagliani (#8 LXN2 Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who turned a lap 58.18 seconds. Tagliani is impressed with the DP01 on the permanent road course and is happy to be testing at Portland International Raceway.
“Obviously it’s two different types of setups between the street courses and road courses,” said the Canadian driver Tagliani. “Coming here after Houston, you notice that you can really fine-tune the setup on the DP01 and sense details in the new car that you couldn’t feel when you’re going over the bumps or the surface changes on street courses. It’s good to get some testing here because we have stretch of road courses coming up that are going to play a large part of the championship.”
Tagliani’s teammate Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) did not run on Tuesday, but is expected to be in the car on Wednesday.
Rookie Neel Jani (#21 RedBull Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was fourth on the time charts and Dan Clarke (#4 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) put the Minardi Team USA entry in the top-five.
Pacific Coast Motorsports driver Alex Figge (#29 Pacific Coast Motorsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) returned to action after sitting out the Grand Prix of Houston due to injury. Figge was comfortable getting back in the car and says he and his stablemate Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pacific Coast Motorsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) are quickly adapting to Champ Car.
“I was a little stiff at the end of today but overall it felt great to be back in the car,” said the American rookie, Figge. “I like Roberto (Moreno) a lot, but it hurt to see him in my car. That was the first race I ever missed and I’m glad to be back in the car. Being a new team, we are struggling on the road courses because we lack a lot of the data the established teams have, but we are improving a lot and we look like we are on the right track.”
Rookies Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay By Touch Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) took to PIR for the first time and were sixth and seventh on the time sheets.
The teams and drivers return to the track tomorrow and Thursday for more testing including standing start practice.
Tuesday, May 1 Unofficial Testing Times
1. Sebastien Bourdais 57.18 seconds
2. Graham Rahal 58.13
3. Alex Tagliani 58.18
4. Neel Jani 58.19
5. Dan Clarke 58.60
6. Tristan Gommendy 58.69
7. Robert Doornbos 58.80
8. Ryan Dalziel 59.09
9. Alex Figge 59.31
10. Justin Wilson No Time Champ Car PR