CHAMPCAR/CART: Bourdais grabs provisional pole in Edmonton

After starting a season-worst 10th in Edmonton last year, but still winning the race, Sebastien Bourdais will have an easier road en route to repeating at the JAGflo Speedway this year. The Frenchman, who has watched A.J. Allmendinger win the...

After starting a season-worst 10th in Edmonton last year, but still winning the race, Sebastien Bourdais will have an easier road en route to repeating at the JAGflo Speedway this year. The Frenchman, who has watched A.J. Allmendinger win the last three races, was the only driver to run a lap under one minute in provisional qualifying for Sunday's race. The result guarantees him a front-row starting position that he has had only once in the last three events.

When all the times were tallied, the Frenchman had run the three fastest laps of the day and did so without the alternate Bridgestone Potenza red sidewall tires. Paul Tracy, Bourdais's sparring partner from a year ago, was second quickest on the day with Bruno Junqueira in third. Tracy edged Junqueira by just 18 thousandths of a second.

"I think it was a pretty big surprise to be able to bring the cars 1 and 3 in the qualifying," Bourdais said. "The set up was not ideal yet, but we're still working on a few different changes. I think we'll get it right. It's just a matter of trying to get some testing." If Bourdais' setup wasn't ideal and he had two tenths already on the field, it should be interesting to see what transpires if the setup is spot on tomorrow.

RuSPORT teammates Justin Wilson and Cristiano da Matta came home 4th and 5th. Both drivers have something to prove this weekend - Wilson has four runner-up finishes this season while da Matta hopes to enjoy a successful 100th start in the series. Another pair of drivers, CTE-HVM's Nelson Philippe and Dan Clarke finished up the day in 6th and 7th. Clarke had a couple of spins but none caused damage to his car.

The PKV drivers had a good session, Oriol Servia in 8th and Katherine Legge 10th, with Charles Zwolsman splitting the two in his best effort in qualifying this season. Rocketsports once again fielded two cars, Nicky Pastorelli having missed Toronto for sponorship issues. He and Tonis Kasemets were 15th and 16th in qualifying.

It was not a good day for Allmendinger, who had a visit with the concrete early in the session. He led a train of cars onto the track but hit the turn one wall, failing to post a time any quicker than 1:03.971, which was slowest of the 17 cars that ran during the session. Even unluckier than Allmendinger was Australian rookie Will Power, who crashed in the second practice session and didn't run a lap in qualifying. "It's really unfortunate what happened today in qualifying, because we were running really well this morning," Power said.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Katherine Legge , Charles Zwolsman , Will Power , Daniel Clarke , Cristiano da Matta