CHAMPCAR/CART: Bourdais steals pole from Toronto's local star

CHAMPCAR/CART: Bourdais steals pole from Toronto's local star

Sebastien Bourdais set a new qualifying lap record and clinched the pole position for the 19th running of the Champ Car Molson Indy in Toronto. It is the Frenchman's third pole of the year and eighth of his career which ties him with Jimmy Vasser...

Sebastien Bourdais set a new qualifying lap record and clinched the pole position for the 19th running of the Champ Car Molson Indy in Toronto. It is the Frenchman's third pole of the year and eighth of his career which ties him with Jimmy Vasser and Bruno Junqueira for 15th on the modern era CART/Champ Car list (since 1979).

Pole winner S?bastien Bourdais celebrates.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
The Newman/Haas driver took advantage of a hotter track temperature with more rubber on it to best Paul Tracy's time of 59.026 from Friday by completing the 1.755-mile temporary street circuit in a time of 58.558 with an average speed of 107.893.

"I think when we tried the first time, the track was at its best pretty much," said Bourdais who clinched the pole on his fifth trip around the circuit. "I think I was able to put three laps in a row very clean and clear and just building at the speed, and that's working pretty well with these tires. You know I'm just glad that the setup was pretty correct."

Bourdais' second set of laps out on the circuit weren't as successful. "The second run, I couldn't put a lap together. You know here, if you are not in clean air, there's no way you're going to improve your lap. The second run was just a disaster."

Tracy who is a local hero from Westhill, Ontario in the outskirts of Toronto could not better his time from yesterday, finishing fourth-fastest today at 59.026 (107.038 mph). The Forsythe Racing driver mounted a late challenge with six minutes to go but ran out of fuel and had to pit with less than a minute remaining. However, he is guaranteed a spot on the front row for winning the provisional session yesterday.

"Well I think it was a little bit frustrating," said a disappointed Tracy. "We didn't have the type of car we had yesterday. It was quicker, but we made some changes this morning. The car just really didn't respond as well as we wanted it to. Again, like I said, it was faster but it was a lot of work to drive it. A little bit of a mixed bag of everything: handling, a little bit of oversteer, a little bit of understeer."

Champ Car Series leader Bruno Junqueira took advantage of open track in the final minute of the 45-minute qualifying session to notch a lap of 58.842 (107.372 mph) and take third place on the grid.

"I think today was a very, very difficult qualifying session," said Junqueira. "I was very much under pressure and there was a lot of traffic. The first set of tires didn't get set. The last lap was clear, but still not at full speed."

The Brazilian native leads the driver's championship with 133 points despite not winning any of the first five races on the Champ Car schedule. He has finished second in four of the races and crossed the line in sixth in Milwaukee. His teammate Bourdais is only 2 points back with 131 points followed by Canadians Patrick Carpentier (104), Tracy (86), and Alex Tagliani (86).

Mario Dominguez of Team Herdez will join Junqueira on the second row after posting the fourth quickest time at 58.899 (107.268 mph) despite completing only five laps.

Rookie leader Justin Wilson of Conquest Racing held the pole temporarily in the 16th minute of the session completing his quickest lap at 59.029. He will start in fifth alongside Tracy's teammate Carpentier, who clocked a 59.200.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (59.260), A.J. Allmendinger (59.379), Alex Tagliani (59.469), and Oriol Servia (59.469) round out the top ten in the classification.

Only one point separates Wilson and Allmendinger in the Rookie of the Year standings. They have 74 and 73 points respectively.

Bourdais thinks it will be an exciting but clean start on race day. "Every time I start on the front row with Paul we have a clean start and we respect each other out on the course."

"Obviously, he's going to be the guy that's going to set the pace into the first corner," commented Tracy about the Frenchman. "You know, all the action really is going to be on the back straightaway. It's sometimes very difficult in the front straightaway. But you know, the bottom line is, we need to get to the end of the race to be able to be in position to win the race. So it should be a good start."

The Molson Indy Toronto takes place tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time. It is Round 6 of the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Eric Gilbert
Teams Conquest Racing