Paul Tracy earns first pole position since 2000 Lola snags first seven starting slots, top nine of ten Warmer conditions scotched plans for most Champ Car drivers to improve their qualifying efforts for Sunday's London Champ Car Trophy at the ...
Paul Tracy earns first pole position since 2000
Lola snags first seven starting slots, top nine of ten
Warmer conditions scotched plans for most Champ Car drivers to improve their qualifying efforts for Sunday's London Champ Car Trophy at the historic Brands Hatch road circuit outside London, England today, but Paul Tracy didn't mind. Driving the #3 Team Player's Lola/Ford-Cosworth, Tracy used his four laps to scrub in fresh Bridgestone Potenza tyres. Last in the 19-car field to record his four timed laps, Tracy realized he didn't need to push to get his first top grid slot in nearly three years. The Canadian last held pole at the Michigan 500 in 2000, recording a track record.
Sebastien Bourdais, third on Saturday was one of the few front-runners to improve on the warm (67-degree ambient, 95-degree track temperature) sunny day, despite running on the rev limiter, needing to upshift and steer with only one hand. The rookie's lap of 37.044-second (115.841mph) in the #2 Lilly Lola/Ford brought him to note "there was too much grip on the track this afternoon; it was my enemy today." He was quickest on the day and will start alongside Tracy; their gap in lap times was .038 seconds.
Bruno Junqueira, 2nd on Saturday starts third in his #1 PacifiCare Lola/Ford, based on his earlier speed. "I had too much understeer and the car was much better yesterday." Oriol Servia took the #20 Visteon Lola/Ford to fourth on the grid, also based on his earlier speed. Alex Tagliani placed the #33 Johnson Controls Lola/Ford in fifth place with an improved lap of 37.422 seconds (114.671mph).
Adrian Fernandez took the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Lola/Ford to sixth with a lap of 37.442 seconds (114.609mph) yet admitted "We're having a tough time this weekend with understeer on the car." Mario Dominguez starts seventh in the #55 Herdez Lola/Ford with a lap of 37.544 seconds (114.298mph) and said his team made vast improvements to their car. He spent practice following local driver Darren Manning who "knows where to go". Manning starts eighth. Patrick Carpentier weathered difficulties with "quite a bit of push" yet starts ninth using his Saturday speed in the #32 Team Player's Lola/Ford and Michel Jourdain Jr. takes up the tenth spot in the #9 Gigante Lola/Ford, making his Lola "a little better" with a lap of 37.705 seconds (113.810mph).
Monday's weather will play a large part in determining fates of the Champ Car drivers who feel the 165-lap race on the 1.192-mile Brands Hatch circuit will be tough physically and mentally. Tracy knows it'll be "a hard job to win again but I've got the advantage to dictate tomorrow's pace. We'll go out there with the attitude of racing to win."