Bourdais' Bravado Leads Him to Bridgestone Pole Award After crashing in the practice session minutes before and damaging his car's left rear suspension, Sebastien Bourdais wasn't certain how his McDonald's Ford/Lola on Bridgestone tires would ...
Bourdais' Bravado Leads Him to Bridgestone Pole Award
After crashing in the practice session minutes before and damaging his car's left rear suspension, Sebastien Bourdais wasn't certain how his McDonald's Ford/Lola on Bridgestone tires would react in final qualifying today. Nevertheless, after hasty repairs from his Newman/Haas Racing crew, the talented Frenchman threw caution to the wind and reeled off a scintillating lap that earned the Bridgestone Pole Award and put him on the point for Sunday's Molson Indy Toronto.
Bourdais' best lap of 58.552 seconds (107.904 mph) eclipsed Justin Wilson's fastest time around the circuit by a miniscule 0.002 of a second. The point Bourdais receives for being fastest today trims his deficit in the season standings to a single point behind Paul Tracy, who'll start second Sunday by virtue of being the provisional pole sitter Friday.
Bourdais wins $5,000 (U.S.) from Bridgestone for taking the Pole Award today, his second such honor this season. Bridgestone also donates $2,500 (U.S.) for each pole to the Hole in the Wall Camps group founded by the co-owner of Bourdais' car, actor Paul Newman, and another $2,500 (U.S.) to a local charity -- this weekend the Molson Indy Fest. Bourdais praised the Bridgestone tires that helped put him up front on a hot, slick and rough street circuit, but the third-year driver was just as appreciative of Bridgestone's larger effort.
"The Bridgestone tires were really good," Bourdais said. "I pulled my fastest lap on the third lap and the tires responded perfectly. The second set in qualifying was as good as the first so we have a really good and consistent package from Bridgestone. ... I'm very thankful to a very loyal partner with Bridgestone. They've been very supportive of the series and they keep being so. All of their charity actions are great, I really appreciate it and I know Paul does."
Quote from Joe Barbieri, Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Sebastien's kind words for both his Bridgestone tires and the charitable component of the Bridgestone Pole Award are pleasing to hear. A primary reason we created this award was to assist those less fortunate than most of us in the racing world -- and to make sure some of those funds remained in the wonderful cities where we compete. The competition should be tough and exciting in the race, and this is definitely a track that can be hard on tires. But this same tire specification performed quite well here last year and we expect the Potenzas to match that showing again tomorrow."
Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 112 to 115 degrees track and from 90 to 91 degrees ambient (F).
Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 44 to 46 degrees track and from 32 to 33 degrees ambient (C).