Bourdais logged a lap of 67.9403 seconds, 104.253 mph and held the top spot, but on the last lap both Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe slipped past him dropping Bourdais to third.
KVSH Racing driver Sebastien Bourdais qualified third for tomorrow's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the streets of Long Beach, California.
Bourdais, who is debuting the No. 11 Team Mistic - KVSH Racing Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone machine this weekend, went out in group one in round one of qualifying on 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit. He posted the fastest time in his group of 11 drivers recording a lap of 67.9060 seconds and therefore advanced to round twoof street/road course qualifying. In the second round, which featured the six fastest drivers from group one and the six fastest from group two, Bourdais once again was at the top of the speed charts (67.7913 seconds), so along with the next five quickest drivers advanced to the final round, the Firestone Fast Six. In the final, Bourdais logged a lap of 67.9403 seconds, 104.253 mph and held the top spot with just a minute remaining in the session, but on the last lap both Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe slipped past him dropping Bourdais to third.
"It was fun," Bourdais said. "First of all, I really need to thank all the people at Mistic Electronic Cigarette's, it's been a great partnership. Also, thanks to Kevin Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser and Sulli for putting the program together. Thanks to all the KVSH Racing guys that did the work in the background silently keeping their heads down and making it happen for me. It's really been a team effort. We all thought we were going to have a shot at this after all the work we did over the winter. I really believe that it's paying off. We had a fast car in St. Pete, and we really have a fast car here. We just came up a bit short, but there's always tomorrow, so we're going to keep digging and hopefully we can make it happen tomorrow.
The 35 year-old is making his ninth appearance in Long Beach and competing in his second race with KVSH Racing. In eight previous races in Long Beach, Bourdais, a four-time series champion, has an enviable record. He has qualified in the top-five five times with two poles (2006 and 2007), and finished on the podium four times with three wins (2005-2007). Since returning to Indy cars, after a three-year stint in Formula One, Bourdais has struggled a bit at Long Beach, but is looking forward to returning to the form that has made him one of the all-time greats at the "Roar by the Shore."
Bourdais, who was born in Le Mans France, is the only driver to win four consecutive U. S. open-wheel championships (2004 -2007). He has won 31 races (eighth all-time) and earned 31 poles (seventh all-time). Bourdais competed in 27 Formula One races (2008 - 2009) and has an impressive endurance racing record including a victory at the 2014 Rolex 24-Hour and a third at the 2014 12-Hour event at Sebring.