Bourdais on Provisional Pole in Australia; Junqueira 17th After Gear Sensor Failure. Sebastien Bourdais, No. 2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "The McDonald's car was fast out of the box. We worked hard; this was a team effort. ...
Bourdais on Provisional Pole in Australia; Junqueira 17th After Gear Sensor Failure.
Sebastien Bourdais, No. 2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "The McDonald's car was fast out of the box. We worked hard; this was a team effort. It works well for the championship to guarantee a front row start today but there is more work to do. It's always good to start on the front row, especially on a street course. It's good to put yourself in a position ahead of a potential mess. The race track itself is really challenging. It's only my second time here but I have had some success in qualifying. Now we just need to have a good race."
* FAST FACTS: Will be his second race here. Started on pole in 2003 but finished 17th. He and Paul Tracy made contact early in the race but he held second place until he lost control of his race car and crashed when rain began to fall, followed by hail and a temporary halt to the event....Has won SIX races and SEVEN poles in 12 previous events...Set a Champ Car record as the first driver to start in the top three in the first 13 events to begin a season (including Australia) and has made 14 consecutive top-three starts dating back to the final event in 2002...Leads the point standings with 308...Now leads the standings by 28 points over Junqueira and needs to finish with a 35 point lead after the race on Sunday in order to clinch his first Champ Car championship and become only the sixth driver in Champ Car Modern Era (1979-present) to do so in only his second year of Champ Car competition...He would be the third-youngest driver to ever win the championship if he outscores Junqueira.
Bruno Junqueira, No. 6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "We had a gear sensor fail at the end of practice during qualifying and we had to fix it and didn't get to make a qualifying run until there was only nine minutes left in the session. The PacifiCare car was good. I had to slow down on my first lap because I caught (Oriol) Servia. I was able to put in a lap on my second one and was running a good lap on my third one which would have put us P5 (position five) or six but (Patrick) Carpentier crashed and brought out the red flag to end the session. It was a difficult day for the team; we we're only able to get two clear laps the entire day. We'll try hard again tomorrow and hopefully put the PacifiCare car on pole."
* FAST FACTS: Was the prov. polesitter here in 2003 but started second. Led a race high 29 laps in the 47-lap event but crashed late in the event and finished 15th. Lost pole position to da Matta by a mere 1-1000ths of a second in 2002. Started second, led eight laps but finished 14th due to strategy in the rain-shortened event. Started and finished 21st in 2001 due to contact...Finished in the top-four nine times in 12 races, including ONE win and SIX second-place finishes. Set the fastest race lap four times...Is second in the point standings with 280...His six runner-up finishes are the most in a Champ Car season since Bobby Rahal scored six in 1991, ironically in a season where he finished second in the championship. He is in the midst of a streak of four consecutive podium finishes and each of his last two trips to Australia has seen him start the race in good position to do well.
* NEWMAN/HAAS RACING FACTS: In their previous 13 years of racing here, NHR has earned THREE WINS (Da Matta 2001, Tracy 1995, Mansell 1993), SIX POLES (Bourdais 2003, Da Matta 2002, Mi. Andretti 1995 & 1991, Mansell 1993-1994) and SIX PODIUM finishes (3rd - Fittipaldi 1998, Mi. Andretti 1997, Ma. Andretti 1994).