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May-07-2007 19:02

Champ Car: Rahal Happy with Portland Testing

The Champ Car World Series returns to competition in June with the Grand Prix of Portland on the weekend of June 8th-10th.

graham rahal photo
Graham Rahal Photo courtesy: grahamrahal.com

PORTLAND - Graham Rahal wrapped up two days of testing in Portland, Oregon last week with the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team, recording second fastest lap time on each of the two days of running.

The team began testing on Tuesday, at the Portland International Racing, a 1.964 mile permanent road course, and the venue for the fourth round of the Champ Car World Series which takes place next month.

After the first day of running Rahal shadowed two-times Champ Car champion, Sebastian Bourdais, just three-tenths off his team mate with a 57.4 seconds lap.

With persistent rain on the second day the team opted not to run and resumed testing on Thursday.

Rahal was quickest of the drivers at Portland for much of the day, with Bourdais stealing the top spot late in the session, pipping the Ohio racer by less than two tenths of a second.

Medi I Zone driver Rahal is familiar with the Portland track, having raced there in the Atlantics Series. He said of the Champ Car test:

"It went really well for us and we were easily as competitive as Sebastian. We can run up front and turn very impressive times, and with plenty of grip it was great to drive and I'm really happy with our two days. We only had one run on new tyres and Sebastian had a couple more, so that's given me the confidence to know that we have the car and the package to challenge him. It's quite a physical track and gives you quite a work out, but I'm very fit and prepared enough. We didn't run in the wet on Wednesday as our testing miles are limited, there's an added element of risk in these conditions and as I felt very comfortable, it was the best option for us.

"Now I have a few weeks away from the race track and it's time to focus on school again. Of course I'll still be training hard and preparing for the next Champ Car race, but education is the priority for the immediate future."

Rahal, at 18 years of age is the youngest rookie Champ Car driver this season, and has already made Champ Car history as the youngest ever Champ Car driver recording a podium finish when he took the chequered flag in second place in the Grand Prix of Houston two weeks ago.

Rahal, son of Indycar legend, Bobby Rahal, graduated to the Champ Car World Series from the Atlantics championship, in which he finished second in the overall drivers points standings.

The Champ Car World Series returns to competition in June with the Grand Prix of Portland on the weekend of June 8th-10th.


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