CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Newman/Haas Racing preview

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, ...

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: - IN MEXICO CITY:

In inaugural race here last year, he was the fastest in provisional qualifying as well as final qualifying. Started on pole and finished third. Lost the lead to fourth place starter Tony Kanaan on the first lap but reclaimed it before he drove off course in Turn 9 and dropped to ninth place. Charged back to finish third.

- SECOND IN POINT STANDINGS WITH 191 POINTS:

Was second fastest in provisional qualifying in St. Pete but his fastest qualifying lap in final qualifying (potentially third) was disallowed because he brought out a red flag when he spun and stopped on course. More red flags during the session prevented him from running faster than the time he set on Friday and he started seventh. Dropped to 14th in race due to losing many positions on his first of three pit stops when the air hose of the inside rear tire changer's air gun disengaged. Charged to a 3rd place finish...

More problems in qualifying led to a seventh place start in Mexico despite being fastest in both pre-qualifying practice sessions as he also did in St. Pete. Ran as high as third in the race but spun and dropped to ninth. Many on-track passes enabled him to finish fifth...Started fourth in Long Beach and finished third...Set second fastest qualifying time in England but started third due to Bourdais earning the second-place, front row start by setting the fastest time in final qualifying. Finished second...

Started second in Germany and finished fourth after he led 23 laps and ran in top three most of the event...Started eighth in Milwaukee (based on combined practice times due to rain in qualifying) but crashed on the first racing lap in Milwaukee and from a two-way tie for first place in the points to third with 66. The Ford Blue Box indicated that the car took a 70 G-force backward impact while the accelerometer in his earpiece indicated he took a 100 G-force hit...

Earned his first bonus point of the season with provisional pole in Laguna Seca. Started and finished second to take sole possession of second place in standings ...Charged from his worst qualifying position of 11th place in Portland to finish fourth...Qualified fifth in Cleveland and earned his fifth podium of the season with third place...Provisional pole sitter in Toronto but started 2nd. Earned his sixth top-three finish with third place...Provisional polesitter in Vancouver but started second. Led the first 21 racing laps until CART ruled that he had to relinquish the lead due to "jumping the start." Dropped to fourth at one point but finished second...Earned maximum points (23) by leading both qualifying sessions, leading every race lap and winning in Elkhart Lake to take the points lead from Paul Tracy by a 164-161 margin with seven races to go...

Hit from behind on restart in Mid-Ohio and dropped to 17th place, two laps down to the leader. Failed to earn points with 13th place finish while Tracy regained lead after earning max. 23 points...Started third but finished 13th in Montreal after two spins that dropped him to 18th place. Lost pole by 6/1000ths of a second. Set the fastest race lap...Earned consecutive Denver victories from pole after he led 76 of 106 laps and closed the point spread of 28 behind Tracy to 18 (204-186)...Was provisional polesitter in Miami but started second based on his Friday time after a crash in final qualifying. Probable second place finish disappeared after he slid into race leader Adrian Fernandez on lap 93 of 135 and dropped back to 13th place but finished 9th...Is 13 points behind leader Paul Tracy with three races remaining (204-191) and a 23 maximum available this weekend.

- ON ROAD/STREET COURSE:

Finished in the top-five in 11 of 14 road/street course races so far this season including NINE podiums. Four of his five wins came on this type of course ('01 & '03 Elkhart Lake rd. course, '02 & '03 Denver street course).

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: - IN MEXICO CITY: Will be his first race here.

- COULD CLINCH ROOKIE OF THE YEAR IN MEXICO CITY:

By earning the pole position in his Champ car debut in St. Pete, Bourdais became the first driver to accomplish the feat since Nigel Mansell won the pole for the '93 Australian event - also while driving for NHR...Bourdais led 30 laps in St. Pete and became the first driver in the 25 year history of series to lead the first laps of his inaugural Champ car race...He also set the fastest race lap...Won his second pole in the series in Monterrey as well as set a track record. He led the first 16 laps but a faulty radio led to a missed pit stop. Also had a troubled pit stop and later brushed the wall entering the pits which ultimately led to retire from the race in 17th place...

Started fifth in Long Beach, led three laps in the race and retired in 16th place due to engine failure after he completed 70 of 90 laps...Earned his first Champ Car victory in only his fourth event at Brands Hatch after starting second and leading 95 laps...First driver in series history to win from pole in his oval racing debut in Germany after he led 74 laps in the closest finish (0.08) since 2000 Michigan race...Started 13th in Milwaukee (based on combined practice times due to qualifying being rained out) and finished ninth despite an overheating engine in the early stages of the race...Probable third place finish ended when his pop-off valve failed while fourth and he retired after 77 of 87 laps in Laguna Seca...Started fourth in Portland but low tire pressure led to an early stop that dropped him to 18th place but he charged back to third place before a rear wing failure forced him to retire with 9 laps to go. Dropped from fifth to seventh in the point standings after Portland with 53 points...

For the second time this season he won the race from pole in Cleveland and moved from seventh to fifth in the point standings with 74...Qualified 6th in Toronto and finished 4th to retain 5th place rank...Qualified fifth in Vancouver, but made contact with Moreno while moving into third at the start of the race and had to make three extra pit stops which dropped him to 11th before he moved up to a third place finish to take over fourth in the point standings with 100. Also set the fastest race lap...Started and finished second in Elkhart Lake as well as set the fastest race lap...Started third and finished fifth in Mid-Ohio...Started sixth but retired from the Montreal race with differential failure. Dropped from fourth to fifth in the standings...Regained fourth place rank with second place finish in Denver after he started third...

Started fourth in Miami and had passed Paul Tracy for third in the race but the Canadian hit his left rear wheel and forced both to crash and subsequently retire from the race after 6 of 135 laps...Has earned a total of 142 points with 23 maximum available this weekend (-62 to leader PT).

- RANKED 3rd IN LAPS LED - 254: Led 30-St. Pete., 16-Monterrey, 3-Long Beach, 95-England (victory), 74-Germany (victory), 1-Portland, 33-Clev. (victory), 2-Vancouver. Third behind Tracy (594) and Jourdain (347) for most laps led in 2003.

- OTHER ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Ranked second for most poles won at four...Leads "Rookie of Year" standings...Second to Paul Tracy for most wins at three...Only driver to have won on a road course and oval this season.

What They're Saying About...

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

"I like a lot the track in Mexico City. Last year was the first time I raced there and I really loved it. I was really fast and started on pole. I battled with Tony (Kanaan) on the first lap and went off course and then fell back to ninth place. Then I started gaining positions and passing people and finished third. I'm looking forward to returning this year. I love the track. After Road America, it's my second favorite track of the year. There are lots of fast corners and long straights. It is a long track and it's very difficult to put a good lap together. I just love it!

"For sure the race in Mexico City is the biggest race of the year for the CART Series. There will be between 300-400,000 people there over the weekend. I want to be on pole again and put the PacifiCare team on the podium. The race in Mexico City will be very important for the Championship. Now every point is important. I think that I have a big opportunity in Mexico City to get a win."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

"To be very honest the most I have heard about the next two races in Mexico City and Australia are about the two parties. Both events are going to be a lot of fun. Obviously the Lilly car, I think, is going to be very good again on this track. Since the beginning of the year we have been performing well and I'm optimistic as usual for a good result. I started on pole in Monterrey, Mexico and it would be great to start on pole here as well. The team has performed well on this type of course and Bruno won the pole there last year so I think we have a strong database and we should be able to get the best out of it. It will be the last road course race of the year and we hope to do very well. The fans in Monterrey earlier this year were incredible and I expect it to be the same in Mexico City. You were shaking when the Mexican guys were on the front straightaway and all of the crowd was yelling for them. It was unbelievable. That's what we are competing for. We just want to put on a good show and if the crowd is enjoying it, that's all we want."

-nhr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Tony Kanaan , Nigel Mansell