Q & A with Justin Wilson

Cast off by Formula 1 at the end of the 2003 season despite having done what was generally perceived as a good job for Minardi and Jaguar, Justin Wilson has successfully relaunched his career in the US-based Champ Car series over the last year and a half

Q & A with Justin Wilson

Signing with the emerging RuSPORT squad for 2005 has allowed the modest, likeable Englishman to show his true worth, culminating in his and the team's first victory last weekend in the Molson Indy Toronto.

Alex Sabine caught up with Wilson in Edmonton on Friday to ask him about the Toronto win, his relationship with the team and his goals for the rest of the season.

Q: Congratulations on your Toronto win. What's the reaction been like at home in England?

JW: I've had a lot of support, emails and text messages congratulating me. It's been great. It's nice to have finally won a race again for the first time since 2002.

Q: Tell me a bit about how your relationship with the team has developed this year.

JW: It's just been great. I really enjoy working with my engineer Todd (Malloy); we gelled straight away. I have enough confidence and faith in him that I can leave him to do certain things, and he seems to have built up an understanding of what I like and what gives me confidence in the car.

And the whole atmosphere in the team is fantastic. Obviously working with AJ (Allmendinger) is pretty good fun - we're always pushing each other and we tend to end up very close.

Q: You came very close to winning at Portland last month. Was that the turning point when you thought, 'Right, it's just a matter of time before we win one of these'?

JW: Yeah. It was frustrating to have lost that one, but it gave me the confidence that when we get this right, we're quicker than everybody. We were quite a bit quicker on that day, but we've been consistently up there at the other races this year too - both myself and AJ - so I think we're going in the right direction.

Q: How would you characterise your relationship with AJ, on and off the track?

JW: We're both very competitive. Neither of us likes to lose, whatever it is we're competing at - computer games, mini-golf, getting in the front seat of the car, you name it. I would like to point out that I won the last game of mini-golf! He gave me grief about the previous game... He's my annoying little brother.

Seriously, though, we get on really well - better than any other teammate I've had. I can't remember another teammate where we hang around away from the track and still have enough respect for each other on track that we race each other hard without crashing into each other.

Q: Do you feel like you have the upper hand in that relationship just at the moment?

JW: Yeah... I've got more experience than AJ and I think that's shown early in the season, but he's going to be tough to beat throughout the rest of the year.

Q: Are you targeting the title now?

JW: You never know what will happen and it's early days, but we're close enough (to points leader Sebastien Bourdais) that it's a possibility. We seem to be quick - in Toronto we were still a little bit off Newman/Haas and Forsythe, but the race came to us. Once (Bourdais and Paul Tracy) clashed I was able to challenge the other Newman/Haas car and get into the lead.

So that one came back to us, a bit like Portland was one that got away. That's how these races go - being the quickest doesn't guarantee that you win; everything has to come together.

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Author Alex Sabine
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