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CHAMP CAR NEWS 

Wilson leads opening practice

RuSPORT ace Justin Wilson led the morning practice session for this weekend's Grand Prix of Portland, beating championship leader Sebastien Bourdais by a scant 0.009 seconds.

The Briton, who last year took pole position at this track and was a runaway leader until suffering engine failure, lapped the 1.964-mile road course in 58.430 seconds, an average speed of 121.006mph.

The 75-minute session started on a wet-but-drying surface, but Wilson clocked his fastest run on the eighth of the 21 laps he completed.

Wilson's erstwhile teammate AJ Allmendinger settled in quickly in his new home at the Forsythe Championship Racing squad to go third fastest and pip new teammate Paul Tracy. Tracy was among the many drivers to spin at the first turn during the course of the session.

Team Australia's Will Power was an impressive fifth quickest to head the rookies, while Dan Clarke also produced a respectable time to end up just 0.01 seconds slower than CTE Racing-HVM teammate Nelson Philippe.

Oriol Servia put his PKV Racing entry sixth quickest before suffering steering failure in the dying minutes of the session, causing him to hit a tyre wall and turn his car upside down.

RuSPORT's new driver Cristiano da Matta was only 12th fastest, ironically 0.01 seconds behind the man who replaced him at Dale Coyne Racing, Mario Dominguez.

Practice times:

Pos  Driver              Team                Time
 1.  Justin Wilson       RuSPORT           58.430
 2.  Sebastien Bourdais  Newman/Haas       58.439  + 0.009
 3.  AJ Allmendinger     Forsythe          58.887  + 0.457
 4.  Paul Tracy          Forsythe          58.939  + 0.509
 5.  Will Power          Team Australia    59.299  + 0.869
 6.  Oriol Servia        PKV               59.352  + 0.922
 7.  Bruno Junqueira     Newman/Haas       59.365  + 0.935
 8.  Nelson Philippe     CTE-HVM           59.575  + 1.145
 9.  Dan Clarke          CTE-HVM           59.588  + 1.158
10.  Alex Tagliani       Team Australia    59.653  + 1.223
11.  Mario Dominguez     Dale Coyne        59.687  + 1.257
12.  Cristiano da Matta  RuSPORT           59.697  + 1.267
13.  Andrew Ranger       Conquest        1:00.324  + 1.894
14.  Nicky Pastorelli    Rocketsports    1:00.817  + 2.387
15.  Katherine Legge     PKV             1:00.839  + 2.409
16.  Charles Zwolsman    Conquest        1:00.850  + 2.420
17.  Jan Heylen          Dale Coyne      1:00.891  + 2.461
18.  Tonis Kasemets      Rocketsports    1:01.060  + 2.630
 
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