Bourdais Leads Final Day of Testing in Mont-Tremblant
The young Minardi Team USA drivers might have dominated the first day of testing at Circuit Mont-Tremblant yesterday but it was a pair of veterans that took over the top-two spots during the second and final day at the picturesque Laurentian circuit.
Three-time Champ Car Champion Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) clocked the fastest time of the two days with a 1:16.41, unofficially breaking the track record of 1:20.0 recorded in 2005 in a 1995 Reynard on a track that did not feature the turn one chicane that the Champ Cars now have to negotiate.
“The track does seem to pick up a large amount of grip so sometimes it gets difficult to read what the changes are doing and what is in the track but I think we made some progress,” said Bourdais. “There were a few test items that we wanted to get an answer on because we didn’t have many laps with the limited testing rule. We didn’t use many tires either so I was very happy with the way the whole thing went. Hopefully we can come back here and have a good race.”
The Frenchman was followed closely by last season’s runner-up Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who registered a lap of 1:16.54, while a few rookies Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay by Touch Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Graham Rahal (#2 Medi | Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) rounded out the top five.
Dutchman Doornbos, who led yesterday’s test session, was particularly impressed with the venue and satisfied with his team’s performance over the last two days.
“I was surprised, I’m not normally a nature type of guy but this is a really nice place and the circuit is really quite beautiful. It is all a driver wants, fast turns, a lot of blind corners, up hill, down hill, it’s really fun to drive. Every lap I have a smile on my face,” expressed the Minardi Team USA rookie. “The team is working hard and the engineers are doing their homework and I am doing my homework to improve and slowly we are getting to the front. We have to continue to push hard because the other teams are getting quicker as well but I think it has been a successful two days. I’m looking forward to the next race.”
Team Australia’s Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) finished the day in sixth while his teammate Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) continued to build on what the team started in Mid-Ohio last week.
“We had a very good test with the Team Australia Aussie Vineyards team. Everybody just did a great job. The last two days we came back on what we learned at Mid-Ohio where we found a very good set-up on the car. I feel very confident and again the communication in the team is so good and that helps my confidence. I definitely think we will have a great weekend for the race as we have a great car here and this car should also be good in Portland so I can’t wait for the next race,” told Pagenaud. “It’s really nice here, it’s amazing how nice it is, I’m sure we will have a lot of fans here, the track is nice for the drivers and the spectators, so it will be spectacular for sure.”
Today’s session was interrupted a few times throughout the day when red flags were thrown for a couple of off-track excursions by Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Dan Clarke (#4 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone). Both drivers suffered damage to their cars which put an end to their day.
Next up for the stars of the Champ Car World Series will be the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe’s Sports and Outdoor at Portland International Raceway June 8 – 10.
1. Sebastien Bourdais, 1:16.41
2. Justin Wilson, 1:16.54
3. Tristan Gommendy, 1:16. 74
4. Robert Doornbos, 1:16.76
5. Graham Rahal, 1:16.83
6. Will Power, 1:16.95
7. Simon Pagenaud, 1:17.01
8. Dan Clarke, 1:17.05
9. Alex Tagliani, 1:17.13
10. Paul Tracy, 1:17.56
11. Ryan Dalziel, 1:17.82
12. Alex Figge, 1:18.90