CHAMP CAR POINTS LEADER SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS MAINTAINS EARLY SEASON DOMINANCE BY TAKING POLE AT MILWAUKEE MILWAUKEE (June 3, 2006) -- It took just one lap around the Milwaukee Mile today to dispel any and all myths that Bridgestone Presents The...
CHAMP CAR POINTS LEADER SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS MAINTAINS EARLY SEASON DOMINANCE BY TAKING POLE AT MILWAUKEE
MILWAUKEE (June 3, 2006) -- It took just one lap around the Milwaukee Mile today to dispel any and all myths that Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford points leader Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) would continue the struggles that had plagued him in each of his three previous Milwaukee trips.
Bourdais only took one of his two qualifying laps around the 1.032-mile oval today, but needed just the one trip around the West Allis circuit to collar his third Bridgestone Pole Position of the season. The Newman/Haas Racing driver made his orbit in 21.182 seconds (175.394 mph) to wrest the pole from A.J. Allmendinger (#10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), then watched as his own teammate Bruno Junqueira (#2 Hole In The Wall Camps Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) took one last shot at knocking the Flying Frenchman from his perch.
Junqueira would come up less than a tenth of a second short in his one lap, putting Bourdais on the pole and securing the first 1-2 qualifying sweep of the season for Newman/Haas. Junqueira's qualifying effort had a bit of drama for the Brazilian as a loose condition caused him to abandon his first attempt. By rule, Junqueira was allowed to make another qualifying attempt since he had not taken the green flag, but he had to forfeit one of his two qualifying laps to do so. Undaunted, Junqueira used his one lap to vault into the second position, stopping the clocks at 21.275 seconds (174.627 mph), earning his second front-row start of the year. Bourdais would earn an extra championship point for winning the pole, boosting his total to 103 on the year and widening his series lead to 26 points over Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone)
Allmendinger settled for the third position after carding a time of 21.398 seconds (173.624 mph), marking the fourth time in the year's four races that he has started fourth or better. Led by the young Californian, RuSPORT commandeered the front row as Wilson slotted into the fourth position on the grid.
Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) posted the most surprising result of the day, scoring the first top-five starting spot of his young career, taking the fifth position on the grid with a time of 21.438 seconds (173.300 mph). Power held the pole for much of the session and picked up the mantle for the Team Australia squad after veteran Alex Tagliani (#15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was unable to compete in today's qualifying.
Tagliani was held out of qualifying after a hard hit in morning practice, one that caused heavy damage to the car. Tagliani was medically cleared to qualify but had to skip the session as the car could not be repaired in time for the single-car session. The Canadian star was not the only driver to sit out Saturday's qualifying as 2002 series champion Cristiano da Matta (#19 Sonny's BBQ Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) missed the session after a spin in morning practice. His Dale Coyne Racing machine could not be repaired in time for the qualifying run and da Matta will start 17th in tomorrow's event, one spot ahead of Tagliani.
Behind Power came Mario Dominguez (#7 Orgullo de Mexico Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), he starts sixth in Sunday's race as he goes in pursuit of his fourth consecutive top-eight Milwaukee finish. Oriol Servia (#6 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) rebounded from an impact in Friday's testing to take the seventh spot, and will be joined by PKV Racing teammate Katherine Legge (#20 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). Legge qualified eighth with a best time of 21.578 seconds (172.175 mph), marking her best-ever Champ Car starting position.
Nelson Philippe (#4 CTE Racing -- HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and defending race winner Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) rounded out the top 10. Philippe's CTE Racing -- HVM teammate Dan Clarke (#14 CTE Racing -- HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) earned the best starting spot of his fledgling Champ Car career as well, and will grid 11th in tomorrow's 225-mile event.
The field will take the green flag tomorrow for the fourth race of the 2006 season, with the race scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. local time, 2 p.m. Eastern. The race can be seen live on SPEED, and will be preceded by a 30-minute pre-race show also on SPEED. Fans can also follow all of the action live via the Race Director feature available at the official website of the Champ Car World Series, www.champcar.ws
QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE QUALIFIERS:
Sebastien Bourdais: We were right where we wanted to be, and you know, I looked at the last time, I knew I could do a little bit better but in the meantime, there's no need to be 3/10s, 4/10s ahead of everybody. If you're taking chances to achieve that, and I knew the second lap was going to be a little bit riskier, I just decided that, you know, it really might be a little painful.
Bruno Junqueira: Yesterday my car was really good and I could run right behind Tracy's car. But unfortunately I crashed my car, so this other car is not going to have all the parts maybe. It will be different. It's a different car, so going to be a little bit of a guess. You cannot put the straight test up on a fast car to this car. But I think Newman/Haas is such a great team that they are going to give me a good race car. We've been struggling at this track before, and last year we were a little bit better and this year, I mean, we seem to be even better. I hope we can have good speed for the race as well.
A.J. Allmendinger: I've learned how to race here and what it takes to do the whole race and figure out how to maintain your tires and everything like that. So, with that said, if we can just have a good start and really warm up tomorrow and work on the balance, I think we probably have a better race car right now than we do qualifying car. So that's exciting and just keep working on it and get a good start, and it's a long race.
* Sebastien Bourdais earned his 21st career Champ Car pole today, giving him sole possession of ninth place on the all-time list. He had previously been tied with Gordon Johncock for ninth.
* Will Power's fifth-place starting spot marks the first time that a Champ Car rookie has started in the top five in Milwaukee since Juan Pablo Montoya started fifth in 1999.
* Katherine Legge scored her best qualifying result today with an eighth-place run. The highest a female driver has ever qualified in Champ Car competition is sixth. (Lyn St. James, Indianapolis, 1994).