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Michael Jourdain Jr., Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing - Q&A

When qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 was all over, the odd man out without a grid spot was veteran racer Michel Jourdain Jr.
Inevitably 34 drivers into 33 grid spots simply don't go, so from the moment that Katherine Legge was confirmed in a third Schmidt-Peterson car on Saturday is was just a matter of who the unlucky driver missing out on the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 was going to be. (See separate story.)

After 36-year-old Michel Jourdain Jr. from Mexico City drew the short straw, he joined the press in the media centre at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for an understandably downbeat review of what had gone wrong for Jourdain and the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team this weekend ...


Q:
Well, Michel, doggone. It's a tough day, obviously, and it looks like a lot of different things you were trying to find some speed and just couldn't get it.

Michel Jourdain Jr.:
Yeah. It was going to be very hard. All week we struggled. Right away, I didn't feel the car very well, you know, but when you're only driving once a year, it's just so hard to know.

It's just a feel thing, and some days it feels really well and getting a little better every day and it was just a low point, and, you know, we just - try this morning, James' setup. He was the fastest of the three cars, and coming out of Turn 4 first lap I almost spun, and I felt this car isn't drivable. And I felt - we put Graham in the car with his exact same setup and everything, steering wheel is in, everything, you know.

It was impossible for him to feel a difference. Just couldn't drive it. He couldn't go - he came in, got the 204 and he said, "I'm not going any faster." He said - you try to go flat out and come in Turn 4. It's impossible.

So we went back and we changed it, changed the whole - the things we had time to change which was the floor - front ring, we tried but as soon as I came in, the car was the same.

I thought, well, we changed so many things, it was Graham's setup. The setup we had yesterday, we worked on it for a week and the car was really well. But for some reason we ended up there so the car was just, I mean couldn't go flat out - with more force and - it was, just, you know, the only thing, keep trying was do something stupid and put the car in the wall, you know. Not make the race anyway, so there's no point in that.

Q:
The things you're talking about, you're making big changes, and you start making big changes all the time, then it gets very hard to sort it out. I think people understand if you change this, that's going to make it one way, you change another thing, that affects the car, and before you know it you're pretty much searching desperately.

Michel Jourdain Jr.:



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