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Bourdais and Rahal continue to set pace at Portland test
PORTLAND, Ore. – Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Graham Rahal completed their first test during the 2007 Champ Car World Series season on the 1.964-mile road course at Portland International Raceway and were pleased with the results.  The 3-day test began on Tuesday, May 1 but inclement weather on Wednesday shifted the final workload to Thursday.

Under near perfect conditions, McDonald’s® driver Bourdais and Medi | Zone driver Rahal ranked first and second unofficially on Tuesday with lap times of 57.1 and 57.4 respectively in their Cosworth/Panoz DP01/Bridgestone race cars.  As a comparison, Newman/Haas Racing driver Bruno Junqueira earned the pole at the 2006 race here with a lap time of 57.631 in his Ford-Cosworth/Lola/ Bridgestone.  The team chose not to run in the rain on Wednesday but returned to the track on Thursday until rain curtailed the test in the early afternoon.  Although the track was slower on Thursday, Bourdais and Rahal again unofficially topped the charts with lap times of 57.45 and 57.61 respectively.  Approximately 10 drivers ran during the test. 

“Well, we had pretty tough weather conditions, but we tried to make the best of it,” said Bourdais who took the championship lead for the first time after his win in Houston.  “In the end, the test was satisfying.  We did go through the test items we wanted to check and the team seemed pretty fast compared to the opposition. Now we will look at all the data and decide what we want to do for the race weekend.”

“The test went really well for us,” added Rahal who became the youngest podium finisher in series history after finishing second in the previous race in Houston.  “We got everything accomplished that we needed to despite the weather all day Wednesday and Thursday afternoon.  Sebastien is the benchmark and our times were very competitive with his.  I think we have the potential to be a bit quicker than we were but given the fact that we had one run on new tires and he had three, I think we are okay and I think our times were competitive with his.  I’m really happy with the car.  We ought to be competitive when we come back for the race.  I’m already looking forward to coming back.” Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing

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