CHAMPCAR/CART: Assen: Series Saturday qualifying report

BOURDAIS DOES IT AGAIN, FRENCHMAN EARNS POLE IN HOLLAND Sebastien Bourdais Claims Third Straight Pole Position In what is beginning to be a familiar tone for the Champ Car World Series, Sebastien Bourdais ( ...

BOURDAIS DOES IT AGAIN, FRENCHMAN EARNS POLE IN HOLLAND

Sebastien Bourdais Claims Third Straight Pole Position

In what is beginning to be a familiar tone for the Champ Car World Series, Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) will once again lead the field at the start of a race after earning his sixth pole position of the season and the 31st of his career, extending his lead in the Series championship to 54 points and inching closer to securing his fourth straight Champ Car title.

The three-time champion lapped the 2.83-mile circuit in a track record time of 1 minute 18.765 seconds (129.347 mph) after only being able to post the sixth best time in Saturday morning's practice session. Nearly every driver improved their time from the morning session but none as much as Bourdais, as he bettered his morning lap by nearly two seconds. The French driver will be joined on the front row by Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), who earned his starting spot during Friday's rain soaked qualifying. This marks the third time this season the two have shared the front row.

Four rookies will fill the next two rows on the starting grid with the PKV Racing duo of Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay By Touch-MegaSpirea Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Neel Jani (#21 Red Bull-Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) starting third and fourth respectively. Gommendy seems to favor the natural terrain road courses, having earned the pole position earlier this season at Mont-Tremblant.

Making up the third row are 2006 Champ Car Atlantic rivals, Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone). While Rahal has been on the podium after the last two events and has been there four times this season, Pagenaud is still looking for his trip to the stand.

Belgian driver Jan Heylen (#34 Grafiprint Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) posted his best qualifying effort of the season, placing his Conquest Racing machine seventh on the grid. Heylen will start alongside Australian driver Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who lines up eighth.

Minardi Team USA teammates, Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Dan Clarke (#4 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) comprise the fifth row. Doornbos is looking to thrill his fellow countrymen with a strong run on his "home" track while Clarke is returning from a one-race suspension.

In the Phanos Resorts Champ Car European Cup competition, Bourdais' pole along with Rahal's result stretched Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing's lead over Team Australia stablemates Pagenaud and Power.

The Bavaria Beer Champ Car Grand Prix of Holland Presented by Audi, Gant, Hertz, Pioneer and Jumbo will go green at 1:00 p.m. local (7:00 a.m. ET) on Sunday. The race can be seen live on ESPN Classic in the United States and on Eurosport 2 throughout Europe.

QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE STARTERS

Sebastien Bourdais: "To be honest I didn't think we were going to be P1. In the first 15 minutes, it felt like it, but then in the first run we just really struggled and we had not changed much on the McDonald's car. When we went out with the Red Bridgestone Alternate Tires, it was fantastic; the car came alive and I had a great time. Like I said this place is fantastic."

Justin Wilson: "I'm very disappointed with our lack of pace today. We just couldn't quite work it out in qualifying and had a few problems. A rear tire delaminated during our second stint, but I'm not sure if that was all of our problem or not. We're fortunate that we got the front row slot from yesterday and now we've got to concentrate on making a good race car"

Tristan Gommendy "I think the Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing team had a good qualification. We came here without a lot of pressure on us because the season is almost over. But, we worked hard and we came up with quite a good setup."

-credit: ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos , Neel Jani , Tristan Gommendy , Jan Heylen , Will Power , Dan Clarke