Bourdais Starts 2nd in Australia; Junqueira Was 2nd Fastest but Will Start 3rd.
Sebastien Bourdais, No. 2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:
"It's a good thing to be fastest on Friday because you can still start on the front row no matter how your final qualifying goes. I made a mistake that the McDonald's team cost me the pole and that is disappointing. I locked up the right front in the last turn of my fastest lap and nearly put the car in the wall. It's so easy to do because you are pushing so hard. The lap would have been a 1:33.2 which would have been good enough for pole and another point. You walk a fine line between being a chicken and being too hungry and I was too hungry today. It was a frustrating session for everyone because of all the red flags. I think it will be mathematically pretty difficult to pick up seven points on Bruno in the race because he is going to be so close. We are going to more or less try to put the McDonald's car up and see if the race comes to us. If the championship goes to Mexico City, I'm fine with that."
* 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:
"I enjoyed qualifying; I think we put on a good show. I was fastest then someone beat my time. I moved back up then someone beat it again. I was very happy with the PacifiCare car today but I left a little bit on the table. I was on a very good, mega lap and hit the tires and it cost me some time. It's a shame that the red flag ended the session with three minutes to go. After having the gear problem yesterday it was good to be able to make runs on both sets of tires today and that helped us improve our position. We were faster than Sebastien but are starting third because he guaranteed a front row start in provisional qualifying. It's a shame that the red flag ended the session. I need to finish in front of Sebastien but I'm going to try to win the race. I'm not thinking about the championship; I'm just thinking about getting the best result possible in the race."
* 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).
ON THE SCHEDULE TOMORROW: The morning warm-up will take place from 10:30-11:00 AM local time while the 57-lap Lexmark Indy 300 will begin at 2:30 PM.