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Champ Car World Series: Molson Indy Toronto

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Molson Indy Toronto

Champ Car World Series: Molson Indy Toronto

Carl Russo
Oriol Servia
Alex Tagliani
Justin Wilson
July 10, 2005


ERIC MAUK: All right, Ladies and Gentlemen, we'll go ahead and get started with our post race conference for the Molson Indy Toronto, the 20th running of the Molson Indy Toronto, round six of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. We will be joined by our top three finishers in today's event. We'll start with our runner-up today, matching a career-best finish in the Champ Cars, scoring his third podium of the season all since joining Newman/Haas Racing, the eighth podium of his career. Today's finish moves him up to fifth place in the points, driver of the #2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman/Haas Racing, Oriol Servia. Oriol, another strong finish for you. You keep moving up in the points. How do you feel about the way it went?

ORIOL SERVIA: I feel good. I feel very happy. I didn't lie when I said that every session we are one step closer to the win. I mean, if it's just one more step, I guess must be next race (laughter). It's really good. I'm just looking at the fastest lap. I really see that Justin was really fast. I mean, he's a second clear of me. I mean, I knew he was faster than me in turn three. I was actually slow the whole race. Under braking and at the apex of turn three was like my weak point. It's not where you want to have a weak point around this track because is almost the only place to overtake. I was suffering a little bit. In the last lap when I was ahead of him, I tried to push really hard in the last three corners before the start, turn one, to try to have as much track between us as I could because I knew he was better under braking. That lap that he was a little closer, he used the 'push to pass' and there's not much you can do. You cannot block nowadays. He had the position. Then I knew he had no more 'push to pass', so there were still many laps to go. The yellow is just what I really wanted. Unfortunately, we didn't get any restarts so I didn't get to use my shot for the 'push to pass'. Anyway, I think he also deserved the win. So I'm just happy again to keep adding points. I just had three podiums, four races. Cannot get much better. Well, obviously, the win. But it's going very well. Very happy about Newman/Haas, how they're approaching everything, the support I'm getting. Very happy to have the PacifiCare car in the podium

ERIC MAUK: Oriol led 20 laps today. In the middle of the race, when Tracy had his problem, after the pit stops, you were 12 seconds back, but taking half a second a lap off, reeling him in. Take us through what was going through your mind during that stop?

ORIOL SERVIA: My car was back very solid. I think we could have make it a little faster. It was like very safe. The ride of the car was great, even on old tires. We just had a little too much understeer at all times. Even though laps, they were telling me, "Push, push, push, you're catching Tracy." I felt I was really struggling. I was having a lot of understeer. But I saw I was catching him half a second a lap. I kept trying, pushing, pushing, we're really going the right way. I don't understand why he didn't pit, even if pits were close. If they knew they were returning out of fuel, I don't know why he didn't come in. I welcome that (laughter). I wasn't very sad when I saw him park. I'm sorry, we are in Canada. But, you know, I'll take it. Plus I think he had something to do with the fact that my teammate wasn't up there any more. You know, that was for the team.

ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. Good result. Our third-place finisher, driver of the #15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Team Australia, Alex Tagliani. Alex finishes third today, earns his second Toronto podium, the second podium of his 2005 season, and the 12th podium of his Champ Car career. Alex, good run for you here in Toronto, a place where you wanted to run well. Tell us about how it went.

ALEX TAGLIANI: It was great. I'm really very happy about the team. They did a great job in the stop. The big turnaround of our race was on the first stint. We had a pretty bad set of tires. I was not very fast. To keep my position, I had to use a lot of 'push to pass'. After that, when the car was running at its best, I think we were really doing quite quick lap times on the second stint. We catched up to Justin. On the pit exchange, we passed Justin in the stop. So we ended up being second right behind Oriol. My concern was I had eight seconds of 'push to pass' left. There was too many restarts. Justin did a great job on the back straightaway. He used it. I was not able to defend. We end up running fourth. At the end, the car was pretty quick. I was able to fight with AJ, the guys up front. When everybody used the 'push to pass' and nobody had some left, I was pretty quick and I was able to fight back. AJ clipped the wall, ran off. We end up running third. At the end of the race, I was pretty lucky they didn't throw the restart because I ran over some debris under yellow flag, and we had the left rear flat tire. It was good for us that it finished under yellow.

ERIC MAUK: You had to push very hard on a number of situations today. Tell us a little bit about how the Bridgestones held up throughout the day.

ALEX TAGLIANI: Oh, it was great. I mean, the second stint was a very good stint for us. We were probably like eight seconds behind Justin. We climbed up to 2.5 seconds to him. It was great. The car was running pretty quick. I was really pleased. I mean, the team is doing a great job. I mean, it's been a couple of months we know each other. We start to gel real good. I mean, two podiums. We did two DNFs, which really put us back in the championship, but very consistent qualifying and racing for us. I'm very pleased so far.

ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. The winner of the 20th running of the Molson Indy Toronto, a first-time winner here in the Champ Car World Series, the 242nd driver ever to win a Champ Car race in the history of the series, driver of the #9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for RuSPORT, Justin Wilson. Justin becomes the fifth different race winner in six events this year in the Champ Car trail. The first win not only for himself but for the second-year RuSPORT team. Also along with the point he gets for fastest lap of the race, it vaults him up to third in the series points. Justin, been fighting for this for a long time. Now it's here. How do you feel?

JUSTIN WILSON: Seems hard to believe that we've actually finally broken the duck. I'm very excited for RuSPORT. I'm very excited for myself. You know, I think this is something that's been on the cards for the last couple of races and we can move forward from here now.

ERIC MAUK: Justin led 10 laps on the day. Tell us about the pass for the lead and the eventual win.

JUSTIN WILSON: It's quite interesting, the couple laps, using 'push to pass' just to work out the braking points and the closing distance on Oriol down in turn three. The third lap, I decided "This is the one I'm going for." I managed to get a good run, closed right in on Oriol. You know, I was able to get down the inside. It was good, clean racing. I was very pleased and couldn't believe it when I came out in front, realized I then had the chance of taking it all the way to the end.

ERIC MAUK: Justin ran the fastest two laps of the race immediately after passing Oriol, running the only sub 60-second lap of the day in the lap immediately after passing Servia and taking the lead. At that point did you know it was over?

JUSTIN WILSON: You never quite know. I just knew that my RuSPORT CDW car was great on that last stint. We put a lot of fuel in the first two stints. We were running heavy for most of the race. That last stint was the only chance we got on light fuel. Bridgestone tires working really great. Just got quicker and quicker each lap. I knew I was pretty comfortable at that. I was a bit nervous that they might get the wreck cleaned up, you know, get one more shot at losing the race win. I'm just grateful for the team putting a lot of effort in. It's a shame that AJ couldn't be sitting up here as well. He's done a good job and I'm sure he'll bounce back.

ERIC MAUK: Congratulations, not only to you, to Carl Russo, Jeremy Dale, the entire RuSPORT team for their first win. Today's attendance 71,433. A three-day total at the Molson Indy Toronto of 160,315. The unofficial Champ Car standings after six events, Sebastien Bourdais is your new points leader with 150, Paul Tracy second with 135, Justin Wilson third with 128, AJ Allmendinger fourth with 111, and Oriol Servia moves into fifth with 107. Having said that, we'll go ahead and take questions from the media.

Q. Justin, on the podium I heard you dedicate the victory to the victims of the London bombings. Can you maybe talk about what it means to you to give the folks back home something positive to think about at this time.

JUSTIN WILSON: Obviously, it's very sad news to hear about the bombings, especially after the celebration of the Olympics only 24 hours earlier. The only thing that we can actually do is just carry on as normal and try and not let that kind of thing disturb us any more than it needs to.

Q. Justin, yesterday you missed the pole by 2/1000ths of a second. You had a mechanical glitch in Portland. Were you wondering when the gremlins were going to leave you?

JUSTIN WILSON: I was pretty confident in this race that everything was running very clean. That kind of thing can't happen two times in a row. It's just working out the odds that I should be safe this time. It finally paid off.

Q. Some don't know you were so determined to get into racing you actually sold shares in yourself and you have an AGM coming up shortly. Do you have any messages for your shareholders?

JUSTIN WILSON: I think I just gave out my message. I'm here, running strong. I'm very pleased to be part of RuSPORT, want to establish myself and grow as a driver over here now. I'm really excited and I think it's great to have those fans and shareholders here supporting me and pushing me all the way.

Q. Justin and Tag, before the last restart, I think there's some question as to the running order. I think, Tag, you were running behind Oriol under yellow, right behind Oriol, then a lap or two before the restart, Justin apparently got waved around. Can the two of you talk about what that was about, what was going on there.

ALEX TAGLIANI: Well, I mean, Rob Edwards called me with a full course yellow. I was going into turn three and I backed off pretty dramatically, and I saw right on the outside of the apex of turn three, you know, double full course yellow. Justin was right beside me. So, you know, I didn't really push to try to create any incident because I knew the full course yellow was out. Him and AJ sneaked by. Full course yellow was out, and that's what the team saw on TV, as well. You know, I just called them and say, "Those guys went by, full course yellow was out." They said it was pretty on the edge with Justin. But AJ was not by, so they asked him to go by me before the restart.

JUSTIN WILSON: I had lined Alex up. I was looking down the inside. If there was a flag on the outside, I didn't see it. So I went past. I didn't get told about full course yellow until I got to turn six. I don't know where it actually laid. From my point of view, I saw nothing until I got to turn six before I saw a yellow flag.

Q. Could all three of you comment on Paul Tracy driving around with half a front wing.

ALEX TAGLIANI: I didn't see it.

JUSTIN WILSON: I didn't see it.

ORIOL SERVIA: I was too focused doing my thing. In a way, I'm sad because I think he took out my teammate. The other side, I'm happy because I think that's part of the reason why I was catching him so quickly, so (laughter). Another Tracy move in Canada, I guess. I don't know.

Q. Justin, could you talk a little about the RuSPORT team. It's not known by a whole lot of people. Your first year with them, second year Jeremy Dale putting together. He's a local guy.

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, no, it's great to be part of RuSPORT. This is their second season in Champ Car, their third year as a team. I'm delighted to be part of that in my second year of Champ Car. Obviously, saw the potential they had last year. It was great to partner AJ. He's a good guy, we work well together. We can push each other very hard all the time. Most of the time we qualify, practice times, race, within a couple of hundredths of each other. We're always right there, backing up what each other says. We always have similar comments.

ERIC MAUK: Following up on what you said, I'd like to take this opportunity to help a team celebrate their first win and invite team owner Carl Russo up to the podium here for a remark on his first victory. Carl, a long time coming. You put in a ton of effort getting here. Now that you're here, how does it feel?

CARL RUSSO: Somebody asked me that earlier. There's a lot of emotions that just continue to flow through. The first one is I'm just so happy for the whole team, all the guys and gals that are part of this team. I mean, this is an extraordinarily difficult paddock to try to win in. I think people are starting to figure that out. I think you saw an element of that on Saturday when 2/1000ths of a second made the difference. I talked to Justin this morning and I said, "Next time you're that close, try and break wind at that time and you'll get a better lap." Don't write that! Are we on the record?

ERIC MAUK: I'm not. You are.

CARL RUSSO: Sorry. But you're looking, on a road course, 2/1000ths of a second, unbelievable. Teams are very strong. Teams that you didn't necessarily expect to be strong, nobody at the beginning of the season expected these guys to be doing what they're doing, no one. So hats off. These folks come from everywhere to war it out on the racetrack. It seems that Sebastien and Paul are getting along well this year (laughter). That's part of the series. What are the emotions? I'm very happy for everybody. I'm really proud of everybody, and a whole bunch of others.

ERIC MAUK: You pretty much hand-built this team, created it in your own image. What do you expect this to do for your team?

CARL RUSSO: I don't know if I've created it in my own image. We certainly built it from scratch. As you know, we started in the Atlantic Series. Toronto was good to us in the Atlantic Series. We finished 1, 2 here in a heck of a race. So, you know, you're trying to set a direction and give folks that can come together and build a culture, just stay focused on what we're doing. We try and stay focused on the causes, not on the results, and keep going. I was asked that on the podium. I don't think the result does anything. Results will come because of the work that we do. So from my perspective, we're obviously going to feel better. We're going to celebrate. We're going to go back and have a beer. Then we're going to go back to work. I mean, this show is back on -- an ale, by the way (laughter), a chewy ale, I might add. The series is right on to Edmonton. Let's pack it up and doing it again.

ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. Other questions?

Q. Justin, if you're still able to talk, can you tell us a little about your relationship with Todd Malloy, your engineer? He's another local guy.

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, it's great to have Todd on board. I was very delighted when the team said that I'd be working with him. Right from day one, we seem to build a good relationship, understand each other, and know what we can achieve. Each day just gets better and better. We're able to work things out. Like this weekend, we started off. It was pretty difficult. As the sessions went on, we learnt more, we understood more, we just kept learning. We were able to engineer the car for each type of track. I'm very excited to work with him and hope I can work with him for many years.

Q. If you could maybe expand on the fact, you made the point at the beginning of this weekend you weren't in good shape, both you guys differently, but talk about the effort to go from really not looking very good on Friday, both you struggling with the cars, to make it competitive today, how that effort took place?

JUSTIN WILSON: It takes a lot of time and perseverance and understanding, just trying to understand what I'm looking for in the car. I'm asking that question myself. He's asking me that question. Trying to work out what is stopping me going quicker. We're able to go through the data and understand where it's happening, why it's happening, what is causing that to happen, and then we can try and fix it. It's very easy to turn the whole car upside down, start afresh come Saturday. We knew some parts of the car should work quite well. So we just had to understand which of the few parts that weren't working well, change those to the right ones, and we came back a lot stronger on Saturday. It's trying to dissect every single piece and make sure you understand everything you're doing.

Q. (No microphone) did you think that the race should be red flagged? There was debris across the track.

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, as we came out of there on the very last lap after the white flag, there was still lots of debris all over the road. I was very pleased, I knew the race was going to be over. I was a little concerned earlier as they were cleaning it up because there was so much debris, it was pretty much luck if you got through there without a puncture. For me it was the right call.

ALEX TAGLIANI: Yeah, I mean, I was concerned because obviously everything was fine. I think three laps after we were running into the debris, suddenly the left rear tires just went down completely. I did the last three laps on a flat tire. So I was definitely hoping they was not going to restart. When you have such a big shunt like that, there's parts everywhere, you're trying to go, you know, in a clean spot. You never know. I mean, it's debatable. I mean, sometimes for the show you have to keep it running. It was good for us that they don't throw the green flag.

ORIOL SERVIA: You know what I think? I still had 'push to pass' none of these guys had. I thought it was pretty clean at the end (laughter). I look at my watch, there was still time, you know. I don't see a reason why they shouldn't put at least one lap. But that's okay.

ERIC MAUK: Congratulations, gentlemen. Thank you.

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