Rookie Franck Perera to Start Third for Conquest Racing in Long Beach

20.04.2008: Rookie Franck Perera to Start Third for Conquest Racing in Long Beach

- Enrique Bernoldi lines up eighth for tomorrow’s race -

Conquest Racing placed both rookie drivers in the top-eight on the starting grid for tomorrow’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Champ Car finale with Franck Perera (#34 Conquest Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) third and Enrique Bernoldi (#36 Sangari Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) eighth in their Champ Car debut.

Making Perera’s performance even more noteworthy is the fact that the Frenchman has just graduated from Atlantics and only had a couple of tests to get familiar with the DP01 Champ Car before this weekend. His qualifying position is the best for an Atlantic graduate in their Champ Car debut in recent years.

Perera, along with Bernoldi, were two of only three rookies making their debuts in the DP01 this weekend to place themselves in the top-eight. In addition, this weekend’s race is only the second (the first being St. Petersburg ) street course that the Brazilian has competed on since Monaco in 2002.

Qualifying Recap

Qualifying didn’t start quite as expected for the Conquest Racing team when a red flag came out as both drivers were on track at the beginning of the session. Perera had only completed four laps while Bernoldi was just heading out of pit lane.

Soon after, the pair returned to the track only to see the session interrupted by a red flag once again. With less than 10 minutes to go both drivers were able to head back out and finally put in a complete stint.

Conquest Racing Quoteboard

3rd - Franck Perera #34 Conquest Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

Qual 1: 1:09.153 (102.451 mph)

Qual 2: 1:07.180 (105.460 mph)

"It’s good to be here (in the top three) today after the fuel pressure problems we had yesterday. The guys did a great job last night fixing the problem and from the first lap this morning we showed that we were quick. We knew we had a good car, we were just unable to prove it on Friday. I thought I could have fought for the pole with Justin ( Wilson ) and Alex (Tagliani) but at one point I realized it wouldn’t be possible because I was following them and I was falling back a little.

The problem was a slow puncture on my left front tire which stopped me from improving my lap times. I’m very happy to be starting third tomorrow in my first and only Champ Car race. It’s good to start in the top three. Conquest is doing a good job as usual and I am looking forward to the race. I want to do my best and pick up as many points as possible."

8th - Enrique Bernoldi #36 Sangari Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

Qual 1: 1:08.272 (103.773 mph)

Qual 2: 1:07.682 (104.678 mph)

"There were a lot of red flags and traffic so I spent some laps trying to build a gap in front of me. On the first set of tires I didn’t get one lap in and the red came out. After that I managed to put in a couple of laps but the red flag came out again. I did my two final stints on the Bridgestone Reds but I had never driven on that type of tire before and I had difficulty finding the limit.

I just couldn’t put a good lap together. But eighth is still good considering this is my first Champ Car race. It will be a long race and I know we will be able to move to the front."

Eric Bachelart, Conquest Racing owner

"It’s a nice way to start our final Champ Car race with a third spot on the grid. It was quite a performance for both drivers to place so high on the grid in their first Champ Car qualifying. Franck has proven all last year and so far this year what an incredible talent he is and what he has achieved here today, to be third on the grid in his debut, is exceptional.

Enrique also did a great job. We have to remember that Enrique has been away from open-wheel cars for the last couple of years so to come here and jump into the DP01 after only one open-test in this car and to be amongst the quickest out there is also an excellent achievement.

I am very proud of both drivers, the engineers and the whole crew. Now we have to go out there tomorrow and follow up our strong qualifying with a strong race and say goodbye to Champ Car in the best way possible."

For more information on Conquest Racing please visit www.conquestracing.com , on Franck Perera, www.cjmotorsport.us  and on Enrique Bernoldi www.ebernoldi.com .

- Elizabeth Canon-

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/champcar-franck-perera-conquest-racing-long-beach-enrique-bernoldi-dp01-sangari---36101.html

20.04.2008 / MaP

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