CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Lola Cars Saturday report

Despite warmer temperatures on the Gold Coast of Australia, times improved dramatically today in final qualifying for the Lexmark Indy 300, penultimate round of CART's 19-race campaign. Rookie Sebastien Bourdais pipped Newman/Haas Racing teammate...

Despite warmer temperatures on the Gold Coast of Australia, times improved dramatically today in final qualifying for the Lexmark Indy 300, penultimate round of CART's 19-race campaign. Rookie Sebastien Bourdais pipped Newman/Haas Racing teammate Bruno Junqueira with a stellar lap in his #2 Lilly Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone Champ Car of 91.718 seconds (109.706mph) over the 2.795-mile Surfers Paradise street circuit. With his fifth pole of the season Bourdais remarked, "The car was good today but it took a while to build up speed we needed to get a good run."

Junqueira's lap of 91.994 seconds (109.372mph) in the #1 PacifiCare Lola was just .276 seconds in arrears, marking the second time he has been beat (Cristiano da Matta was on pole last year). ""To lose pole for the second straight year is frustrating," he noted.

Point leader Paul Tracy found the speed he needed on his 11th and final lap to bring the #3 PF Racing Lola to third on the grid with a lap of 92 seconds flat (109.370mph) as "we made a big improvement today. Bruno told me to stay off the curbs in the chicanes to get a good lap" and was right. Alex Tagliani, third in Friday time trials was fourth today at 92.135 seconds (109.209mph) in the #33 Johnson Controls Lola. Adrian Fernandez took fifth grid spot in his #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Lola at 92.436 seconds (108.854mph). Fernandez said, "Conditions were much better today. I think we can win from fifth on this grid."

Oriol Servia's tour of the Queensland streets in his #20 Visteon Lola of 92.731 seconds (108.507mph) gave the Catalonian sixth grid spot. Roberto Moreno recovered from a spin and back-up onto pit road to secure seventh on the 19-car grid in the #4 Herdez Lola at 92.732 seconds (108.506mph). Teammate and 2002 race winner Mario Dominguez was eighth in the #55 Herdez Lola at 92.908 seconds (108.301mph) and "squeezed 100% from the car.". Third in the standings, Michel Jourdain Jr. earned ninth grid slot for his #9 Gigante Lola and Mika Salo rounded out the top ten in the #27 PK Racing Lola with his best CART qualifying effort. Patrick Carpentier was 11th to give Lola Cars a sweep of grid positions for tomorrow's race in the #32 PF Racing Lola.

Qualifying weather conditions have been volatile but tomorrow's 65-lap event is expected to run without threat of rain and will be televised live on Speed TV in the US, beginning at 12:30AM EDT.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Mika Salo , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain