CHAMPCAR/CART: Montreal: Saturday qualifying report

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS EARNS 17TH BRIDGESTONE POLE OF HIS CHAMP CAR CAREER BY LEADING FINAL QUALIFYING FOR THE MOLSON INDY MONTREAL MONTREAL (August 27, 2005) -- Final qualifying for Sunday's Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered...

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS EARNS 17TH BRIDGESTONE POLE OF HIS CHAMP CAR CAREER BY LEADING FINAL QUALIFYING FOR THE MOLSON INDY MONTREAL

MONTREAL (August 27, 2005) -- Final qualifying for Sunday's Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford event saw one driver cruise to the top of the time charts on the Isle Notre Dame, home of the famed Circuit-Gilles Villeneuve and the Molson Indy Montreal.

As has been the case in every Champ Car session this weekend in Montreal, and Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) sailed to the top of the speed charts after waiting on pit lane to see if any driver would eclipse his provisional pole time set yesterday. Once Justin Wilson (#10 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) claimed the top spot 11 minutes into the 35-minute qualifying session Bourdais entered the fray in his McDonald's machine and reclaimed the top spot on his fourth circuit of the 2.709-mile road course.

The Bridgestone Pole Award is the fourth of the season for Bourdais, who now has 17 career poles in 42 Champ Car events. Bourdais is now tied for 12th with Emerson Fittipaldi on the Champ Car's all-time polewinners list. Bourdais' lap of 1:20.396 (121.305 mph) was more than half-a-second quicker than the second place qualifier.

Bourdais' Newman/Haas teammate Oriol Servia (#2 Pacificare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) matched his career-best qualifying effort of second, first set in Montreal in 2003. Servia posted his flyer time of 1:20.698 (120.851 mph) to move up five spots on the grid as J.D. Wilbur flew the checkered flag. Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth Lola/Bridgestone) earned the third starting spot for the Molson Indy Montreal after twice being knocked off the top spot with a time of 1:20.932 (120.501 mph).

At the drop of the green flag Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was the only driver to enter the course and by the time he had his Bridgestone Potenzas up to temperature for flying laps, a quarter of the field had joined him on the track. Wilson struck first, moving to the top of the charts. His teammate A.J. Allmendinger (#10 Western Union Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) then knocked him off the top spot. As Allmendinger posted his time, Bourdais peeled off of pit lane and on his fourth lap claimed the top spot for good, bettering his lap on his sixth trip around and setting the eventual pole time.

Following yesterday's qualifying session which was cut short by a late red flag, today's session ran without a single stoppage by the scarlet banner.

Tracy and fellow Canadian Alex Tagliani (#15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will make up the third row of Sunday's starting grid. Tracy posted a best lap of 1:20.954 (120.468 mph) and Tagliani wowed his hometown crowd with a late lap at 1:21.160 (120.163 mph).

Mario Dominguez (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Cristiano da Matta (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will make-up the fourth row. Timo Glock (#8 DHL Global Mail Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is the top starting Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year contender as he will take the green flag from the 11th spot. His closest competitor in the chase for the ROY title, Ronnie Bremer (#19 American Medical Response Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will start 17th.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (#31 Red Paw Systems/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Ricardo Sperafico (#11 Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Q Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) both failed to post a time in Friday's qualifying session. Hunter-Reay turned in a top lap today at 1:22.285 (118.520 mph) which was good enough for the 13th starting spot. Sperafico best lap at 1:22.917 (117.616 mph) earned him the 16th spot on the grid.

The fourth running of the Molson Indy Montreal will get underway Sunday at 1:45 p.m. Eastern time. The event can be seen live on NBC Sports, with coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.

QUOTES FROM THE TOP-THREE QUALIFIERS:

Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "All I hope for is just to have a clean race. I truly believe the car should be good enough. This McDonald's car has been good enough the whole weekend. There's no reason not to see it good tomorrow. I guess the weather conditions are going to play a big game for us. Apparently it might rain all night and possibly tomorrow showers. So we'll see what happens. But we're not the slowest guy out there in the rain conditions. If it has to be rain, then be it. But definitely under dry conditions the car feels very good."

Oriol Servia (#2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I saw there was only one minute left. They told me, "Last lap." It's one of those that every corner you see a 10th better, a 10th better. You just want to finish. You don't want a red. I was lucky, as I said, to put a lap together. Nothing spectacular because Sebastien was obviously still two and a half 10ths faster, I think. But it's quite good starting second. It's a good position for tomorrow."

Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I think qualifying was pretty good. We went out slightly earlier than some people and got a good time in, so I was quite pleased with that, and then slowly started to slip back down the order, which is kind of the normal situation as qualifying works out, everyone gets quicker towards the end. The race is a different thing. We've just got to be smart, make sure we have a good first lap, you know, see how the race pans out. It's going to be a very long, tough race. Anything can happen."

NOTEWORTHY

Today's front row sweep marks the ninth time in the past four seasons Newman/Haas Racing has swept the front row for a Champ Car event. The duo of Sebastien Bourdais and Oriol Servia have now combined to sweep the front row twice (Montreal, San Jose)

Today marked the 27th time in the last 56 Champ Car events that Newman/Haas Racing has earned the pole position. Tomorrow the team will be shooting for its 29th win in the past 63 Champ Car races.

-ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Ricardo Sperafico , Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Gilles Villeneuve , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Sébastien Bourdais , Emerson Fittipaldi , Timo Glock