CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Newman/Hass Racing Friday report

Junqueira on Provisional Pole in Mexico City; Bourdais 2nd After Crash Bruno Junqueira, No. 6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "I feel happy with today's result. It is important to get the pole, and especially important to get the ...

Junqueira on Provisional Pole in Mexico City; Bourdais 2nd After Crash

Bruno Junqueira, No. 6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "I feel happy with today's result. It is important to get the pole, and especially important to get the Championship point and be starting on the front row for the race on Sunday. The PacifiCare car was good this morning, so we did not make any changes for the afternoon. However, the car was not as good in the afternoon. We made some drastic changes and changes all four springs. We also took a gamble and went with the alternate tires. It's unbelievable how much faster they are. We also took another gamble and waited until the end to make our second run. I went out pushing as hard as I could, making sure not to make any mistakes. This puts some pressure on Sebastien (Bourdais) for tomorrow in qualifying. The car wasn't perfect today, so we will make changes to improve the car for tomorrow. We will try to work very hard to put it back on the pole tomorrow."

* FAST FACTS: Will be his third race here. Set a track record in qualifying in the inaugural race in 2002 with his pole and finished third for Ganassi Racing. Started third in 2003 and fought food poisoning on race day as well as reduce engine performance and dropped from second to seventh place. Is also ranked second in the Corona Cup standings, an award of $100,000 USD will be given to the driver with the highest number of cumulative points from the race in Monterrey, Mexico and Mexico City...Finished in the top-four 10 times in 13 races, including TWO wins and SIX second-place finishes. Set the fastest race lap FIVE times...Is second in the point standings with 314, 21 behind leader Bourdais...His six runner-up finishes are the most in a Champ Car season since Bobby Rahal scored six in 1991, ironically in a season where he finished second in the championship. He is in the midst of a streak of five consecutive podium finishes.

Sebastien Bourdais, No. 2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "The McDonald's car is definitely looking very good. I think most of the front-runners ran on the alternate tires that Bridgestone has brought along. They're definitely much faster. We chose to run with the standard tires so we will have two sets tomorrow for a run at the pole. We were willing to give up the point today. There is no safe place on the race track but for sure pole is the best place to be to avoid getting caught up in an accident. Definitely there is a lot left tomorrow because the alternate tires are probably good for another 8/10th of a second. I knew it was going to be really hard to compete against Bruno with the regular tires, and Bruno was on the alternate tires, but I went for it. It was a very, very strong first run. I just laid the car very much on the edge, but didn't make it in the last turn at the end of the session; unfortunately I pushed to the limit and went over it. On the last corner I just went for it and didn't make it."

* FAST FACTS: Will be his second race here. Started fourth in 2003 and finished second...Has won SIX races and SEVEN poles in 13 previous events...Set a Champ Car record as the first driver to start in the top three in all events during the first 13 events to begin a season and has made 14 consecutive top-three starts dating back to the final event in 2003...Leads the point standings with 335, 21 over Junqueira...If he wins the Champ Car championship he will become only the sixth driver in Champ Car Modern Era (1979-present) to do so in only his second year of Champ Car competition...He would also be the third-youngest driver to ever win the championship.

* NEWMAN/HAAS RACING FACTS: The team has yet to win at this track in their two races here but they have earned TWO podium finishes (2nd place - Bourdais 2003, da Matta 2002). Their highest starting position was second place in 2002 by Christian Fittipaldi. They are in route to earning their FIFTH title in the series despite the outcome of Sunday's race. It will also be the best finish in their 22 year history as they have locked up first and second place.

ON THE SCHEDULE TOMORROW: The morning practice session will take place from 10-11:15 AM CT while final qualifying will take place from 1:45-2:45 PM.

-nhr-

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Series INDYCAR