Bruno bags first 2003 pole position; Leads six Lola drivers at Road America. The 4.048-mile Elkhart Lake, WI road course is Bruno Junqueira's favorite track and he led all drivers in final qualifying for Sunday's Mario Andretti Grand Prix at...
Bruno bags first 2003 pole position; Leads six Lola drivers at Road America.
The 4.048-mile Elkhart Lake, WI road course is Bruno Junqueira's favorite track and he led all drivers in final qualifying for Sunday's Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America presented by Briggs & Stratton. Junqueira earned his first pole position of the 2003 season with a lap of the 14-turn circuit at 103.703 seconds (140.524mph) in the #1 PacifiCare Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone Champ Car. "The car feels really good and this race is critical to our championship" campaign, Junqueira said. "The field is pretty tight," as the top nine cars qualified within one second.
Teammate and rookie points leader Sebastien Bourdais starts second in the #2 Lilly Lola after improving his lap time to 104.242 seconds (139.798mph) for the Frenchman's sixth front row start. "We had two good runs and closed the gap. I think we're pretty much there for the race," Bourdais explained. Patrick Carpentier's lap of 104.306 seconds (139.712mph) in the #32 Team Player's Lola earned the Canadian third on the 19-car grid. "We made a small change and the car was a lot better." The team "fine-tuned our setup to help me. We're going deeper into the corners and keeping our speed up. This is really a 'momentum' track."
Oriol Servia took fourth grid place in the #20 Visteon Lola on his ninth and final lap at 104.314 seconds (139.701mph) and "made a nice improvement today. This is a track I've always liked." Mario Dominguez improved from 11th Friday to fifth in the #55 Herdez Competition Lola, logging a tour of 104.378 seconds (139.616mph). "We've struggled with brakes but it's definitely better." Paul Tracy's 6th grid slot in the #3 Team Player's Lola was "all we could do today. I was at the limit all around the track, but we're not that far behind." The title contender qualified at 104.519 seconds (139.427mph) and leads Junqueira by 18 points going into Sunday's contest.
The weather played a large part in qualifying today, as a thunderstorm blew through the area just after morning practice, washing the track. Skies were partly cloudy with temperatures around 77-78 and track temps around 85-88 degrees. Similar conditions have been forecast for the 60-lap race tomorrow, which begins at 2PM CDT and is televised solely on HDNet in the United States. "This is the track where I most have my confidence," Bruno Junqueira stated this afternoon. "I hope this track can bring me luck again and I can get my first with Newman/Haas Racing tomorrow."