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Team Australia fastest in Elkhart Lake UPDATE A reader asks, Dear AutoRacing1.com, 4-5 seconds off the track record? With this being a proper road course, I would have figured the new Panoz would have smashed the old record a la Laguna Seca. It isn't even remotely close! What gives?  Derek Hughes, Kentucky 

Dear Derek, It was not qualifying day, so we predict the cars will be faster in August when they return and run the softer "red" tires. With that said, the Panoz creates a lot of downforce and has a fair amount of drag.  Road America, being so high speed, is a fairly low downforce setup track.  Although the Panoz will break most track records this year (or at least come close), Road America may not be one of them due to the many long straights.  For this same reason, the Panoz in the current configuration, would not be super fast on ovals either.  Mark C.

06/19/07 Team Australia will enter this weekend’s Cleveland Grand Prix on a high after topping the timesheets in testing at the Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin today.

Australian Will Power set the fastest time of the day around the spectacular 4.048-mile (6.515-kilometre) road course, one of 11 cars testing at Road America today.

Power posted a time of 1m43.75secs in the #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01, narrowly beating his rookie team-mate Simon Pagenaud, who was an outstanding second-fastest with a time of 1m43.87secs.

The Aussie Vineyards cars of Power and Pagenaud were the only two entries to break the 1min44second barrier in today’s testing, giving Team Australia a huge boost ahead of this weekend’s fifth round of the championship in Cleveland Ohio. The speed shown by Team Australia today also puts Power and Pagenaud in a strong position for Round 10 of the series at the Road America circuit on August 10-12.

The runways and taxiways of the Burke Lakefront Airport are the scene of this weekend’s Grand Prix of Cleveland, a venue that has traditionally turned on fantastic Champ Car events since 1982.

Pagenaud earned pole position at this unique circuit last year in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship for Team Australia and the Frenchman is eager to earn his first Champ Car podium at the venue this weekend.

Power remains second in the championship standings after four rounds of the 2007 Champ Car World Series and last year’s Roshfrans Rookie of the Year sees the exciting Cleveland airport layout as a circuit where he can capitalize on the speed of the #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01 and chase down rival Sebastien Bourdais’ championship lead.

RESULTS: Road America Testing – June 18
1. Will Power 1:43.75
2. Simon Pagenaud 1:43.87
3. Jan Heylen 1:44.68
4. Robert Doornbos 1:44.73
5. Neel Jani 1:44.80
6. Justin Wilson 1:44.86
7. Alex Tagliani 1:45.09
8. Tristan Gommendy 1:45.25
9. Graham Rahal 1:45.30
10. Oriol Servia 1:45.30
11. Paul Tracy 1:45.97


Will Power – #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01

On today’s test at Road America …

“We sorted the car out and we definitely have the speed,” said Power.

“This morning we got some great runs in and this afternoon ran into a couple of problems and then were plagued by the red flags, which enabled us to get a run on new tires

“It was great test and luckily the weather held out for us and I look really forward to coming back to Elkhart Lake in August for Round 10 of the championship.”

On this weekend’s Cleveland Grand Prix …

“Cleveland is a very important race for us, we need to have a very strong result, keep finishing in the points and win another race and I think Cleveland is the place to do it,” said Power.

“I love the track, it’s very enjoyable to drive and it really suits my driving style.

“Last year I made a mistake that cost us a podium and I want to go back and make up for that and get a good result for Team Australia, but for the Cleveland fans as well.”

Simon Pagenaud – #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01

On today’s test at Road America …

“The test went really, really well today,” said Pagenaud.

“This morning we struggled a bit to find the right set-up and unfortunately didn’t get all the mileage we could have in, but at lunch we had a good debrief meeting.

“Then this afternoon we did well and set a good, decent lap time and I’m pretty happy.

“We are definitely headed in a better direction for Cleveland, had a great overall test and used the time we had well.”

On this weekend’s Cleveland Grand Prix …

“I’m glad to get back in the car and go racing again,” said Pagenaud.

“We struggled a bit in Portland, but we know what happened, which gives us great confidence going into Cleveland because the Aussie Vineyards car is a perfect fit for this circuit.

“I really enjoyed the track last year. In fact it was one of my favorites. It’s amazing to race on an airport and so much fun. I’m looking forward to a great weekend.”

Derrick Walker – Team Australia Co-Owner

“Today was a good one day test for the team,” said Walker.

“The boys really learned a lot and we were able to collect a lot of good baseline data to help us for our upcoming races.

“The Cleveland race is a great overall event.

“The track runs itself with some great visibility for the fans to see pretty much all of the action and the fans that come to the race each year are always very enthusiastic.

“We are getting into the hard slog of the mid season and the charge for the championship and Cleveland is typically been a good track for us.

We have a lot of good understanding about the track. I think given our championship aspirations it’s essential that we come away with a good points result.

“Let’s hope some for some good weather and I think it will be an exciting race.”

Craig Gore – Team Australia Co-Owner

“A great effort by Will, Simon and the entire Team Australia crew in testing today at Road America,” said Gore.

“Both the Aussie Vineyards cars have performed very well today and now Team Australia can take this confidence to Cleveland and aim to be fighting for victory come Sunday.

“Cleveland is a unique event and one that turns on some great racing.

“Simon scored a pole position in our Atlantic car at Cleveland last year and with his current speed he is a chance of scoring his first Champ Car podium this weekend. It’s great to see him pushing Will in testing today and he’s learning very quickly and doing a great job.

“Will is in fine form and will take some confidence away from topping testing today at Road America. He has raced at Cleveland once before, so with that experience under his belt I’m sure he will be giving it everything this weekend and pushing hard to pull in Sebastien’s championship lead.” Team Australia PR

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