CHAMPCAR/CART: Bourdais blazes around Denver

CHAMPCAR/CART: Bourdais blazes around Denver

Sebastien Bourdais continued to be hot, this time on the streets of Denver. The Newman/Haas Racing driver blazed around the 1.647-mile street course at 98.740 miles per hour (1:00.413) to take the provisional pole earning himself a front-row start...

Sebastien Bourdais continued to be hot, this time on the streets of Denver. The Newman/Haas Racing driver blazed around the 1.647-mile street course at 98.740 miles per hour (1:00.413) to take the provisional pole earning himself a front-row start position and one more bonus point in the Champ Car World Series standings.

S?bastien Bourdais.
Photo by Ford Motor Company.
He did it on his final lap, setting a new qualifying track record and bumping Mario Dominguez off the top spot.

"I guess I am just trying to do the best I can and am keeping consistent at the right moment," explained Bourdais on his pulling out a fast time on his final lap. "I looked at the stopwatch on my steering wheel and I said now whatever I am doing I still have two laps so I sacrificed one and built a gap and said now tires are up to speed and setup is good so let us try it over again and it worked perfectly."

The Frenchman is currently on top of the overall standings as he aims to take home the gold at the end of the 2004 season, and the bonus point for the provisional pole will help him toward that goal.

"We are in the middle of the season and the championship is starting to heat up," said Bourdais prior to Friday's qualifying session. "The McDonald's team seems to be in good shape with the car and we need to earn as many podium finishes as possible."

Dominguez's hot foot was just 0.308-seconds off the best lap of Bourdais; the Mexican had fastest time in the first practice. The Herdez Competition driver is looking for his first pole and win in 2004.

"Not as happy as I would have been if this guy (Bourdais) wouldn't have come at the last lap," commented Dominguez. "He (Bourdais) did pretty good. But I am quite happy, the team gave me a really good car this weekend. I like this racetrack. It's a fun track to drive around and it's not easy, muscling these cars around with all the horsepower through these very narrow streets. It's very challenging and it's good fun."

Paul Tracy.
Photo by Ford Motor Company.
Paul Tracy was fastest in the second practice run, but missed the provisional pole by 0.472-seconds. Forsythe Racing's Canadian veteran will look to see how they might improve for tomorrow's final qualifying run to steal the pole from his rival.

"(It is) very, very frustrating when the cars are out there and you are driving on the limit and you only have one opportunity on the tires to get the time and it got interrupted with a red flag so that was really a missed opportunity," said a disappointed Tracy on the amount of red flags. "We'll just try and regroup and hopefully have better luck tomorrow."

Last year's winner at Denver would like to see an all-Newman/Haas front row, though. Bruno Junqueira was 0.790-seconds behind his teammate after turning only one hot lap before he clipped the wall in Turn 3 damaging the Lola's suspension. The Brazilian knows that Saturday is another day and the actual pole is still available.

"I brushed the wall in Turn 3 and bent the suspension on the PacifiCare car," explained Junqueira. "Four of the turns are different this year and we are working to adapt the car set-up for the changes. I think I had a car to fight with Sebastien and Mario. Unfortunately, I made a mistake and couldn't go out for my second run. It's very easy to make a mistake here."

Finishing in today's pole run just a tic ahead of Junqueira was Mario Haberfeld. Walker Racing's driver was clocked at 1:01.198; just 0.313-seconds behind Tracy and 0.005-seconds ahead of Junqueira. Haberfeld is still searching for his first career pole.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais