Champ Car wraps up testing in Portland
PORTLAND – After a near washout on Wednesday, Champ Car teams concluded their testing today at Portland International Raceway with eight cars taking laps around the 1.969-mile circuit in the Pacific Northwest. Though the skies threatened rain most of the day, the track stayed dry until the final hour and teams were able to complete their testing checklists.
Once again it was Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and his Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing teammate Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) holding down the top two spots with Bourdais running a session best 57.45 seconds and Rahal running a 57.61.
“We’ve had quite a bit of different weather conditions making things more complicated than they needed to be,” said the three-time champion Bourdais. “The McDonald’s car is good and we are just trying to find some improvements and go through the items we had on the list. Hopefully we can get some valuable information and just build for the race weekend.”
Rahal held the fast time for most of the day but was eclipsed by his teammate with about two-hours to go.
“It’s been interesting with the weather, difficult even, but today things have been going well,” said Rahal, who is the youngest driver to earn a Champ Car podium. “I think we’re perfectly fine, the car feels really good and when we come back here in a few weeks, we’ll be right up front.”
Sophomore driver Dan Clarke (#4 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) put the Minardi Team USA entry third on the time charts with a lap at 57.96 seconds. He was followed closely by PKV Racing rookie Neel Jani (#21 RedBull Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who was fourth fastest again today at 58.17 seconds.
Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was fifth fastest after only getting one day of testing. Wilson was slated to run on Wednesday and Thursday but with the rain Wednesday thwarted the team’s plans.
“The rain was a bit tricky, we wanted to run yesterday and do two days, but it forced us to just one day of running,” said Wilson. “It has put us behind a little bit but hopefully we can come back from that.”
Rookies Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay By Touch Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) were sixth and seventh on the time sheets with Alex Tagliani (#8 LXN2 Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) eighth after only running nine laps during the day.
The teams will now head back to their respective headquarters to continue preparing for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joes’s, which is Round 4 of the Champ Car World Series 2007 season.
Thursday, May 3 Unofficial Testing Times
Sebastien Bourdais 57.45 seconds
Graham Rahal 57.61
Dan Clarke 57.96
Neel Jani 58.17
Justin Wilson 58.19
Robert Doornbos 58.34
Tristan Gommendy 58.66
Alex Tagliani 58.93