CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Newman/Haas Racing preview


BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

- IN CLEVELAND: It will be his third race here. Started eighth and finished 13th in 2002 after he retired with mechanical failure. Started 16th and retired in 23rd place after contact with Christian Fittipaldi entering the pits in 2001.

- SECOND IN STANDINGS WITH 95 POINTS: Was second fastest in provisional qualifying in St. Pete but his fastest qualifying lap in final qualifying (potentially third) was disallowed because he brought out a red flag when he spun and stopped on course. More red flags during the session prevented him from running faster than the time he set on Friday and he started seventh. Dropped to 14th in race due to losing many positions on his first of three pit stops when the air hose of the inside rear tire changer's air gun disengaged. Charged to a 3rd place finish...More problems in qualifying led to a seventh place start in Mexico despite being fastest in both pre-qualifying practice sessions as he also did in St. Pete. Ran as high as third in the race but spun and dropped to ninth. Many on-track passes enabled him to finish fifth...Started fourth in Long Beach and finished third...Set second fastest qualifying time in England but started third due to Bourdais earning the second-place, front row start by setting the fastest time in final qualifying. Finished second...Started second in Germany and finished fourth after he led 23 laps and ran in top three most of the event...Started eighth in Milwaukee (based on combined practice times due to rain in qualifying) but crashed on the first racing lap in Milwaukee and from a two-way tie for first place in the points to third with 66. The Ford Blue Box indicated that the car took a 70 G-force backward impact while the accelerometer in his earpiece indicated he took a 100 G-force hit...Earned his first bonus point of the season with provisional pole in Laguna Seca. Started and finished second to take sole possession of second place in standings ...Charged from his worst qualifying position of 11th place in Portland to a fourth place finish and is only four points behind the points leader Paul Tracy with 23 maximum available in Cleveland.

- ON ROAD/STREET COURSE: Finished in the top-five in all six road/street course races so far this season including FOUR podiums. Two of his three wins came on this type of course ('01 Elkhart Lake road course, '02 Denver street course).

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #2 McDonalds / Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

- IN CLEVELAND: Will be his first race here.

- TOP ROOKIE IN POINT STANDINGS IN SEVENTH: By earning the pole position in his Champ car debut in St. Pete, Bourdais became the first driver to accomplish the feat since Nigel Mansell won the pole for the '93 Australian event - also while driving for NHR...Bourdais led 30 laps in St. Pete and became the first driver in the 25 year history of series to lead the first laps of his inaugural Champ car race...He also set the fastest race lap...Won his second pole in the series in Monterrey as well as set a track record. He led the first 16 laps but a faulty radio led to a missed pit stop. Also had a troubled pit stop and later brushed the wall entering the pits which ultimately led to retire from the race in 17th place...Started fifth in Long Beach, led three laps in the race and retired in 16th place due to engine failure after he completed 70 of 90 laps...Earned his first Champ Car victory in only his fourth event at Brands Hatch after starting second and leading 95 laps...First driver in series history to win from pole in his oval racing debut in Germany after he led 74 laps in the closest finish (0.08) since 2000 Michigan race...Started 13th in Milwaukee (based on combined practice times due to qualifying being rained out) and finished ninth despite an overheating engine in the early stages of the race...Probable third place finish ended when his pop-off valve failed while fourth and he retired after 77 of 87 laps in Laguna Seca...Started fourth in Portland but low tire pressure led to an early stop that dropped him to 18th place but he charged back to third place before a rear wing failure forced him to retire with 9 laps to go...Dropped from fifth to seventh in the point standings after Portland with 53 points.

- FIVE BONUS POINTS: (St. Pete - Fri. & Sat. qual; Mexico - Sat. qual.; Germany - qual. & leading most laps).

- RANKED 3rd IN LAPS LED -- 219: Led 30 - St. Pete., 16 - Monterrey, 3 - Long Beach, 95 - England (victory), 74 - Germany (victory), 1 - Portland. Ranked third behind Michel Jourdain (324) and Paul Tracy (269) for most laps led so far in 2003.

What They're Saying About...

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

"I like to race in Cleveland. I think it is a great track for the fans because they can see all of the race track and it's very wide so it's a track where you can see a lot of passing. Unfortunately I haven't have very good luck there yet but I think we can turn that around this year. I was fourth last year but my engine blew late in the race but the No. 1 PacifiCare car will be really strong on that type of track and we will try to fight for the win. It's going to be the first experience for me as well as CART on a road course at night but the night race in Milwaukee was such as success and I think Cleveland will be even bigger. The fans were already great there for the regular race and I think this will be an even bigger party for them. It was so hot for the race last year that I think the drivers and the fans will enjoy this even more. I'm really happy to come back and race at night. Cristiano (da Matta) was leading the race last year before his engine blew so I know Newman/Haas has a good set-up for this track. The PacifiCare team is going to try to win our first race of the season and gain some points on the rest of the Championship contenders and try to pull out a gap because it's really tight right now."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #2 McDonald's / Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

"I have heard that the Cleveland race is a good one from a drivers perspective because the track is so wide open and you can push yourself harder without the increased risk of hitting the wall like on street courses. I'm looking forward to the race. We are due for a good result after not finishing the past two races. It is good to know that we could have finished third in those races but that also makes it harder to accept than if we were running farther back. We have the potential to run well but I hope we can also start finishing the races again. Apart from our two wins we have not scored many points and we plan to turn that around in Cleveland."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Nigel Mansell , Michel Jourdain