CHAMPCAR/CART: Junqueira steals Toronto provisional pole in final minutes

CHAMPCAR/CART: Junqueira steals Toronto provisional pole in final minutes

Brazilian Bruno Junqueira guaranteed himself a spot on the front row for Sunday's Molson Indy at Exhibition Place in Toronto by setting the fastest lap in the first qualifying session of this weekend's schedule. Bruno Junqueira. Photo...

Brazilian Bruno Junqueira guaranteed himself a spot on the front row for Sunday's Molson Indy at Exhibition Place in Toronto by setting the fastest lap in the first qualifying session of this weekend's schedule.

Bruno Junqueira.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
The Newman/Haas Racing driver completed the 1.755-mile temporary street circuit in 59.486 with an average speed of 106.210 mph late in the session. The provisional pole winner is guaranteed a front row starting spot regardless of the outcome of final qualifying on Saturday.

Paul Tracy, racing here in his hometown, qualified in second place at 59.803 despite losing an even faster lap of 59.677 for causing the red flag to come out earlier in the frame when he spun out in Turn 9.

Junqueira and Tracy were the only two drivers who broke the-one minute threshold in qualifying.

Michel Jourdain finished third on the provisional grid in a time of 1:00.002. Jourdain captured his first career victory with a dominating performance in the Milwaukee Mile on May 31st.

"I was the first to go out there because I was worried that the rain would come," recalls Junqueira. "The car wasn't performing well, so we came back in. Myself and the Newman/Haas Team made the decision to wait until the end when the track had more rubber and was better."

"I had a good run going on the first run and I was even faster on my next run, but I spun and lost the lap," said Tracy. "We went out early because the track was fairly empty and it looked like the rain was coming. After we set the fastest time again, we prayed for rain but it never came."

The pole position for Sunday will be determined by the fastest lap of both the Friday and Saturday qualifying sessions. Also, the fastest driver from each qualifying session will be awarded a championship point.

After isolated showers during the second practice session earlier in the day, the weather cleared up and the track dried out enough for most of the teams to begin the qualifying session on slicks.

Just three minutes into the session, Junqueira set the early pace with a time of 1:02.755. In the sixth minute, Roberto Moreno moved to the top of the board with a time of 1:00.627.

Canadian Patrick Carpentier improved to first with a time of 1:00.454 in the ninth minute. Fellow countryman Tracy took top spot one minute later at a time of 1:00.079. Moments later, Tracy spun out and stalled in Turn 9, bringing out the red flag temporarily. Under CART rules, Tracy lost his fastest lap for causing the red flag stoppage. Therefore, his official time would become his second fastest lap of the session.

Paul Tracy.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
In the 26th minute, Tracy raised the bar once more, breaking the one-minute barrier in a time of 0:59.667. However, that eventually became the lap to be waived. His previous lap of 0:59.803 would become his best. Tracy posted another quick time in the 28th minute but was out of qualifying laps.

Over the next five minutes, the bottom half of the field jockeyed for better position on the grid.

With seven minutes remaining, Jourdain moved up into third spot at 1:00.395 and, two minutes later, shaved almost four tenths of a second off his time on the next lap to move temporarily into second place behind Tracy at 1:00.002.

Then, on his 13th lap and with just three minutes until the end of the session Junqueira took the pole at 59.486.

The top ten in the final classification for the first qualifying session was Junqueira, Tracy, Jourdain, Oriol Servia, Alex Tagliani, Adrian Fernandez, Carpentier, Darren Manning, Roberto Moreno, and Sebastien Bourdais.

Sunday's race will be shown live on CBS Sports at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time. It is Round 10 of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series.

Notes:

The Molson Indy Toronto is the first of three races on the CART Champ calendar to take place in Canada this year. The event has drawn three-day crowds of 160,000 people in each of the last nine years

Additional qualifying rules for the CART Fed/Ex Championship Series include a maximum of 15 timed laps per session with a guaranteed 25 minutes (of a 40 minute session) of green flag time at road course events.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Bruno Junqueira , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Eric Gilbert , Michel Jourdain