The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford rolled into Monterrey, Mexico this week with 17 cars, drivers, teams and support crews competing in the annual event at Fundidora Park.
Newman Haas driver Sebastien Bourdais took Pole Position today in second round qualifying, piloting his Lola around in 1:13.253 (103.401 mph) on the 2.104-mile road course.To go along with the pole, Bourdais breaks his own track record, which he established here last season.
"Well, it was a little bit of a crazy session. We went out there and didn't really know what to expect with the option tires."Bourdais said."But Bridgestone had pretty similar compounds, just a little grippier. We didn't guess it exactly right, so we got the red flag, pit, made a change, went back out, and definitely the balance was a little better. We really capitalized on that."
Bourdais has now taken Pole in the first three events of the season, has won two races thus far, and has solidified Newman Haas as the team to beat in 2006.At this point it's Bourdais race to lose.
The RuSPORT Racing powerhouse continues to shine in the early season with Justin Wilson taking second spot on the outside front row with a time of 1:13.532 (103.008 mph), following his provisional pole-setting time on Friday.Teammate A.J. Allmendinger, 1:13.796 (102.640 mph), filed in right behind Wilson to snare the third best time of the weekend.
Wilson had a guaranteed front row starting position from his fast time in round one qualifying, gained one championship point for the effort, as he bids to close the gap in the championship between himself and Bourdais.
Yeah, it was pretty good. Not quite as good as yesterday."Said Wilson."The slightest change you make wrong, rather than it being half a 10th or a 10th, it's going to be 3/10ths. You have to really work hard on making very small adjustments, trying to keep the car in the right window so it works well."
Completing a Newman Haas / RuSport sandwich was Bruno Junqueira, 1:13.911 (102.480 mph) who starts from row two in fourth position.
Canadian Paul Tracy, the elder statesman of the series now that Jimmy Vasser has vacated his seat, rounds out the top five starters with a quick lap of 1:14.009 (102.344 mph).
Today's pole was the 19th in four seasons of open-wheeled competition for Bourdais.The talented Frenchman and former Formula One test driver is trying to become the first driver in nearly 60 years to win three Champ Car Series titles in succession.
"I just think track position is extremely important here.You really want to start from the pole."The two-time defending series champion said."We just made sure we were going to be right there.For sure you'd like to save the tires, but as I said in Long Beach when we did it, you look like a star when it succeeds. But when you miss the pole... you really look awful stupid.We played it safe this time."
Sunday's race is expected to hit a temperature of nearly 100 degrees, typical for Monterrey this time of the year.The race begins at 1 pm local time (2 pm EST).