The Newman/Haas team's wishes for a pole position at the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland were fulfilled by Sebastien Bourdais this afternoon at the 1.969 mile Portland International Raceway with a lap time of 59.229. His teammate Bruno Junqueira...
The Newman/Haas team's wishes for a pole position at the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland were fulfilled by Sebastien Bourdais this afternoon at the 1.969 mile Portland International Raceway with a lap time of 59.229. His teammate Bruno Junqueira will start beside him on front row and Paul Tracy will start third.
Both Junqueira and Tracy lost their fastest laps of today's qualifying session after being penalized for infractions during qualifying, they were able to retain their second and third places -- Junqueira by the virtue of his Friday time and Tracy with his second-fastest time today.
The 15-minute practice session before qualifying got underway with seven drivers taking to the track early in the session. Ryan Hunter-Reay set a time of 1:00.586 on his second lap taking the lead, but A.J. Allmendinger took 0.106 off that time hree minutes later as the red flag came out to clear Nelson Philippe from the track after he lost control of his car in turn 10.
After the session was restarted, Michel Jourdain proceeded to work his way up the charts until with 3 minutes to go he bumped his RuSPORT teammate Allmendinger to second. However, Allmendinger came back in the last minute and posted a lap of 1:00:282 to take the top spot and push Jourdain down to second.
When the final qualifying session started, 10 minutes later, Bourdais, Allmendinger, Alex Sperafico and Nelson Philippe were the first to head out. Bourdais announced his intentions early, recording a time of 59.509 on his third lap, exceeding his time from provisional qualifying.
Mario Dominguez and then Vasser both posted times better then their Saturday times leaving Vasser in sixth and Dominguez in seventh. Ten minutes into the session Justin Wilson in the Mi-Jack Conquest car posted his first sub one minute lap of the weekend and moved into sixth but he was almost immediately bumped down seventh as Hunter-Reay also brought his time below one minute. Oriol Servia came out and posted a time of 1:00.851 improving his Friday time by almost four seconds, showing that his engine problems were solved.
Tracy posted a time of 59.295 on his fourth lap, moving him up to second behind Junqueira, with Bourdais in Third. Shortly after that Junqueira was penalized for interfering with a competitor's qualifying lap and will lose his fastest lap of this session. Shortly after that he came into the pits and did not come out again during that session.
Junqueira commented after the session, "my team figured there was no point for me to run anymore since my best lap would be taken from me and I was already guaranteed a front row start from winning the provisional pole yesterday."
Twenty minutes into the session Bourdais took the pole, posting a time of 59.229 on his ninth lap and the leading rookie, Justin Wilson, then moved up to fourth, posting a lap of 59.414 pushing fellow rookie Allmendinger down to fifth. Five minutes later, Tracy, who came out on the soft option tires, lost control of his car in turn seven and backed his car into the tire wall. Some minor damage was done to the car but Tracy climbed out of the car unhurt. This did mean that he lost his fastest lap for bringing out a red flag and did not get another chance to improve his time.
"The car was ok. The crash obviously did not help us obtain the pole today." explained Tracy. "The damage is minor, just need to repair the back wing, so that is good. I feel that I could have gotten more from the car.
"On the lap I was on prior to my incident, I was running a very fast time that could have gotten us the pole. I began to experience oversteer, I was trying to keep it on the track and away from the wall, but there was nothing I could do. Today is not terrible; we were where we wanted to be, but just not there all the way."
The session was restarted with four minutes to go and Rodolpho Lavin spun off the course between turns 10 and 11, but as he as not in a dangerous position it did not affect the remaining few minutes of the session.
When the checkered flag flew Bourdais found himself on pole. "The race and how we do will depend on the temperature tomorrow and how the tires wear."
Junqueira and Tracy finished second and third. Wilson, the top qualifying rookie, qualified fourth. Allmendinger, in his best qualifying effort so far, will start fifth in tomorrow's Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland.