Will Power is confident that he can put on another front-running performance as the IndyCar Series reaches the penultimate stop on its 2008 championship campaign in Detroit this weekend.
The Australian looked a good bet to contend for a possible podium finish at last Sunday's event at Infineon Raceway in California, and is hoping that he can similarly overcome the IRL regulars' previous experience of the Raceway at Belle Isle to push his KV Racing Technology/Team Australia entry towards the top step of the podium.
Power is noted for his prowess on street circuits, with Champ Car wins in Toronto and Las Vegas last season and Long Beach earlier this year, and rates the Detroit Indy Grand Prix as arguably his strongest event of the season, despite still coming to grips with the switch to the IndyCar Series. He visited the Belle Isle circuit during a promotional visit to Detroit in May, and admitted that he was looking forward to the race weekend more than any IRL event other than the non-championship outing in his homeland later in the year.
And, when it comes to Power's home event, the Nikon Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise, the gold-and-green Team Australia entry has earned the pole position the past two seasons, underlining the 2008 rookie of the year contender's ability on concrete-lined street courses.
“The Detroit track looks really technical and really nice,” Power said as he prepared to head back to the Motor City, “I've been looking forward to this track more than any other circuit other than Surfer's Paradise this year, as it just looks like a good street circuit where you have to drive really well to get a quick lap. As soon as I saw it, I had a smile on my face."
The packed IRL schedule, which is ending with three events back-to-back, means that Detroit arrives in time to prevent Power from dwelling too heavily on the frustration of running into braking problems at Infineon last weekend.
“The whole Aussie Vineyards team was really disappointed after Sonoma," he revealed, "We showed that we had a top three car in qualifying, but the brake failure ended our chances."
Having qualified third for the Peak Indy Grand Prix, Power was denied the opportunity to challenge for a podium finish when the rear master cylinder failed on the #8 in the early stages of the race. The Australian did his best to push on despite the problem but, as his braking performance deteriorated, there was little he could do, taking to the escape road at the chicane several times, leading to race officials giving him a drive-thru' for shortcutting the obstacle too many times, before the problem eventually led to him hitting the tyre wall at the same spot with three laps remaining.
“I was happy qualifying third,” Power said, “The car was good enough for pole, but I suffered a bit from a lack of traction and never launched one lap properly, so I was losing a lot of time by the first corner.
“However, the rear master cylinder failed early in the race and that pretty much ended any chance we had of competing for a podium finish. It's a real shame, as the Aussie Vineyards crew worked so hard and we had a really good car in qualifying and early in the race.
“Because of that, I'm determined to get a strong result in Detroit. Our team knows what we are capable of, and we want to show everyone else, so we are very focused on getting a top result this weekend.”