Wild and crazy day ends with Power on provisional pole at Zolder

25.08.2007: Wild and crazy day ends with Power on provisional pole at Zolder

Local Heroes Unable to Complete Qualifying After Separate Incidents During Practice

PHOTOS HERE : www.automobilsport.com/american-series--86.html

 

After an inauspicious start at the Zolder Circuit, Champ Car wowed the Belgian fans with an exciting qualifying session that saw three drivers battling for the provisional pole and a guaranteed starting spot on the front row. As the checkered flag fell it was Team Australia’s Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who claimed the top spot, lapping the 2.492-mile road course in 1 minute 13.810 seconds (121.545 mph).

The day started differently for Belgian driver Jan Heylen (#34 Grafiprint Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who was involved in a first lap incident with Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Dan Clarke (#4 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) in the morning’s practice session. Champ Car suspended Clarke from this weekend’s event for his role in the incident that damaged Heylen’s car so much, his Conquest team was unable to repair it in time for today’s qualifying session. Heylen will return to the track tomorrow to thrill his hometown fans.

Another Benelux driver who ran into problems today was Dutchman Robert Doornbos, (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who suffered an engine failure during the practice session just before qualifying started. Like Heylen, Doornbos was unable to participate in the qualifying session but will run tomorrow.

Two Frenchman, Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Cosworth/DP01/ Bridgestone) and Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/ Bridgestone) were second and third fastest today with Bourdais electing to run both of his stints on the Bridgestone Black sidewall tires saving both sets of his presumably quicker Bridgestone Red alternate tires for tomorrow’s final qualifying session.

Setting the fourth fastest lap was 18-year-old American Graham Rahal, (# 2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who turned in a best lap of 1 minute 14.224 seconds, just ahead of Dale Coyne Racing driver Bruno Junqueira who was fifth fastest.

Three Europeans filled the next slots of the time sheets with Frenchman Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay By Touch-MegaSpirea Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) sixth; Spaniard Oriol Servia (#7 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) seventh and Swiss driver Neel Jani (#21 Red Bull-Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) eighth.

Canadians Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Alex Tagliani (#8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) round out the top ten.

Final qualifying for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium is at 2:30 p.m. local time (8:30 a.m. ET) on Saturday with the race scheduled for Sunday, August 26 at 2 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET). Sunday’s race can be seen live on ESPN Classic in the United States and Eurosport 2 in Europe. Fans can also follow all of the action via the official website of the Champ Car World Series, www.champcar.ws.

QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE FRIDAY QUALIFIERS

Will Power: "It is really good to get a point, but the best thing about qualifying on the front row today is we can concentrate on fine tuning the set up for the race in tomorrow's session."

Sebastien Bourdais: "I think the McDonald’s team did well today, it is our first time here and so guys have raced here before. For us, we don’t need to gain in the championship we just need to keep running near the front to finish off this championship."

Simon Pagenaud: "It's great to be back at Zolder. They have resurfaced the track and it is very gripy which is exactly what I like. We worked this morning on the balance and traction to make sure we had a good set-up for qualifying."

 

- Tom McGovern -

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25.08.2007 / MaP

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