CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Saturday qualifying report

Power Takes Second Straight Pole Position for Champ Car Season Finale in Mexico City Aussie Driver Obliterates Day-Old Track Record To Score Fifth Pole of 2007 Season MEXICO CITY, Mexico (November 10, 2007) -- Putting aside...

Power Takes Second Straight Pole Position for Champ Car Season Finale in Mexico City
Aussie Driver Obliterates Day-Old Track Record To Score Fifth Pole of 2007 Season

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (November 10, 2007) -- Putting aside lingering effect of a broken wrist sustained just three weeks ago in Surfers Paradise, Australian Champ Car star Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) claimed his fifth pole position of the season and the sixth of his Champ Car career in record fashion in final qualifying for Sunday's 2007 Champ Car World Series season-ending Gran Premio Tecate presented by Banamex (ESPN, Live, 2 p.m. ET).

Power clocked a best lap at 1:23.558 (119.515 mph) to shatter Sebastien Bourdais' (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) day-old track record. The Team Australia pilot previously earned poles at Las Vegas, Houston, Edmonton and in his home country of Australia. He won the season-opener at Las Vegas and also claimed the victory in Round 7 at Toronto, and heads into Sunday's race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez looking for his third victory of the season. He currently holds down fourth place in the 2007 championship standings entering Sunday's season finale and trails third-place driver Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) by 27 points, with a maximum of 32 points still available.

Power shares the front row with four-time Champ Car champion Bourdais, who secured his 10th front-row starting spot of the season by leading Friday's provisional qualifying session with a lap at 1:24.698 (117.906 mph). Bourdais--who clinched an unprecedented fourth championship in Surfers Paradise three weeks ago--posted just the 10th-fastest time in Saturday's final qualifying session. Nevertheless, he will start from the front row for the 46th time in 73 Champ Car races. The Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing driver will make his final start in the series on Sunday looking for his 31st career Champ Car victory. Bourdais is also the defending champion in Mexico City.

Doornbos posted the second-quickest time of final qualifying at 1:24.152 (118.671 mph) and will start third in the Minardi Team USA machine. It is the fifth top-three starting spot of the season for the Dutchman, who wrapped up 2007 Rookie of the Year honors in the Lexmark Indy 300 in Surfers Paradise. Doornbos owns victories at Mont-Tremblant and San Jose, and is hoping to close out an outstanding rookie campaign with another victory on Sunday. He stands just eight points behind second-place Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) going into the Gran Premio Tecate presented by Banamex.

Oriol Servia (#22 Pay By Touch Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) earned his second top-four starting spot in as many races with PKV Racing with a fourth-place qualifying performance at 1:24.324 (118.429 mph). The Catalan driver also started second in his first 2007 start with PKV in Surfers Paradise after making his first 11 starts of the season with Forsythe Championship Racing. Servia is shooting for his third podium result of the season and the second victory of his Champ Car career on Sunday.

After posting the second-quickest time in provisional qualifying, Wilson slipped to fifth on the final grid with a lap at 1:24.365 (118.371 mph). Wilson is looking to secure second place in the final championship standings with a strong result in the season finale, and has not finished worse than fourth in any of his three previous starts at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. He won the 2005 event and finished second after being passed by Bourdais on the final lap last year. He finished fourth in his Champ Car debut at the venue in 2004. This year, Wilson owns a victory at Assen and has finished on the podium in five starts.

A flurry of quick times late in the session dropped rookie Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) from a top-five starting spot into sixth on the final grid. The 2006 Champ Car Atlantic champion logged a best lap at 1:24.394 (118.331 mph). Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Paul Tracy (#3 INDECK Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) suffered the same fate as Pagenaud, as they fell from the top-five into the seventh and eighth starting positions, respectively, in the closing minutes of the session. Rahal will start seventh with a best lap at 1:24.515 (118.161 mph), while Tracy's best lap was 1:24.608 (118.031 mph), good for eighth on the grid.

Englishman Dan Clarke (#4 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) qualified ninth with a lap at 1:24.767 (117.814 mph), while Monterrey, Mexico's David Martinez (#7 INDECK Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) rounded out the top 10 on the grid in his home country with a best lap at 1:24.888 (117.642 mph).

The Gran Premio Tecate presented by Banamex will go green at 1:00 p.m. local time (2:00 p.m. ET) on Sunday. The race can be seen live on ESPN in the United States. Fans can also follow all of the action via the official website of the Champ Car World Series, www.champcar.ws.

QUOTES FROM THE TOP-THREE QUALIFIERS FOR THE GRAN PREMIO TECATE PRESENTED BY BANAMEX FOLLOW BELOW:

Will Power #5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone (Qualified 1st) -- "You only get one lap on the red tires and I found a gap and did one lap. That was the time. It was tough in traffic though the red flag threw everyone into a bit of a limbo and everybody was going out at the last minute. But we got a lap in and the car's good. We got about four or five poles this year, so we have to put it together in the race. We had some bad luck during the season, not really representative of our speed. So we'll be looking for a win tomorrow. (Aboutdriving with his injured wrist) I found it harder to wear the brace. It actually hurts it more. The cracked bones are all right. It's just where the ligament damage is that it hurts. The warmer it gets, the easier it is on the hand. It's sore in the morning when it's cold."

Sebastien Bourdais #1 McDonalds Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone (Qualified 2nd) -- "Well, quite simply, what a good day yesterday and a bad day today. Just wasn't really the way we wanted to have our last qualifying run. But like I said, it's racing. It can be quite interesting at times. And you've got to keep your chin up and go racing. So that's what we're going to be doing tomorrow. And hope for the best. I think we've got a pretty good car. It just wasn't going to work for us today."

Robert Doornbos #14 Team Minardi USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone (Qualified 3rd) -- "Of course it's the first time for me here and it's not an easy circuit to find a good setup on, especially with the bumps in the back. You really have to be committed with the new tires. We found a problem with the dip yesterday which we fixed last night and this morning it already went a lot better. We pulled it through to qualifying through a couple of Bridgestones Reds that back to back can really make a difference. So the car felt good. I'm happy to qualify up front for the team and for myself, obviously, and look forward to a nice race tomorrow."

-credit: ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Graham Rahal , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos , David Martinez , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud , Dan Clarke