Bourdais gets first taste of ovals

Double Champ Car pole-winner Sebastien Bourdais completed two days of testing on the Phoenix International Raceway oval in Phoenix, Arizona last week as he prepared for his up-coming speedway debut in the series

Bourdais gets first taste of ovals

The reigning F3000 champion who has outpaced his Newman/Haas Racing team-mate Bruno Junqueira in both of the opening Champ Car races of the season, came away from the test with a healthy appreciation for the discipline.

"It's been really, really interesting (testing on an oval)," said Bourdais. "It's a bit scary when you start, because you don't know really well the limits, between the driver and the car also. It's very difficult to estimate this. After a couple of runs, you can start to get some sensations and a better feeling, so you start to push a bit more, but always with a lot of precaution because it's really easy to do a mistake.

"With the downforce we have on the cars, on the ovals, it's really quick. You really need to take your time not to do a big mistake which really can have a big consequence on yourself and on the car. It was really interesting. Now I can say that I really had my first experience and I know more where I am on an oval."

Junqueira shook down the car and found a set-up for the Frenchman before handing the testing duties over to Bourdais, who then ran approximately 345 trouble-free laps over Tuesday and Wednesday of last week.

"I just told him to make sure where the end of the car is," said Junqueira, "because on the ovals, you cannot have oversteer. It's something that takes a long time to be confident on an oval. But he did very well.

Brian Lisles, general manager for Newman/Haas added: "Newman Haas Racing was very pleased to be able to run a two-day test with Sebastien to give him his first exposure to an oval. For his own safety and that of his fellow competitors, we feel it was crucial to allow him to gain experience at an oval in a quiet setting with no pressure to prepare him for the forthcoming oval events."

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