Champ Car teams wrap up last day of testing
SEBRING, Fla. – In hot and humid conditions in South Florida, Champ Car teams wrapped up the final day of testing at the 1.67-mile Sebring International Raceway.
Home Field Advantage: With the next Champ Car event slated for Surfers Paradise, Team Australia is certainly hoping for some home-field advantage. Last year, Will Power put the green and yellow Aussie Vineyards machine on pole position and nearly won the event in his native land. This year, Power is joined by French rookie Simon Pagenaud, who will be making his first trip “Down Under.” The Team Aussie duo were first and fourth fastest at Sebring with Power leading the way after a lap at 51.51 seconds. Pagenaud feels the team gained a lot during the test.
“I expect a big crowd in Australia rooting for both Will and myself,” said Pagenaud. “Our test this week was good and we learned lots of things and that is important. It was also good to show our strength heading into the next event because we both want to do well for Aussie Vineyards.”
On a Roll: Coming off of two straight podium finishes, Bruno Junqueira and Dale Coyne Racing are certainly on a roll. On Monday, the Brazilian was second quickest at Sebring and on Tuesday, with just a small number of laps, continued to show improvement. With his strong performances over the last two events, Junqueira is currently ninth in the standings, sitting just 18 points outside of the fifth position.
“I am very happy for Dale Coyne Racing,” said Junqueira. “We have done a lot in the last couple of weeks and we are stilling going fast. The guys are working hard and I hope we can continue to get good results, especially in Australia.”
California Dreaming: Mario Dominguez stepped right into Pacific Coast Motorsports and turned the third fastest time of the day in Sebring. The Mexican driver set a best lap of 51.55 seconds putting him only four one-hundredths off the fastest time of the test. His teammate Alex Figge was also quick during the two days running a best lap of 51.73 seconds, which was good enough for fifth.
Give Me a Brake: As the teams continue to learn about the new DP01, one of the areas they are concentrating on at Sebring is the braking system. With the tight and rough layout at Surfers Paradise, Australia next up on the schedule, getting a handle on braking is of utmost importance. The track in Australia is demanding on the Performance Friction Brakes and the 1.67-mile Sebring circuit is a good place to put them through the paces, as its surface closely represents a rough street circuit. Forsythe Racing’s Paul Tracy says this is something the team has been looking to improve all season.
“One of the things I have struggled with most this year is braking,” said the 2003 Champion. “It seems we can’t get the rear end settled but I think we learned a lot of things today and I hope they translate into good things in Surfers.”
Unofficial Lap Times for September 25, 2007
1. Will Power 51.51
2. Tristan Gommendy 51.53
3. Mario Dominguez 51.55
4. Simon Pagenaud 51.71
5. Alex Figge 51.73
6. Paul Tracy 51.79
7. Graham Rahal 51.82
8. David Martinez 51.91
9. Neel Jani 52.04
10. Bruno Junqueira 52.30
11. Katherine Legge 52.58
12 James Winslow 53.65