Junqueira takes provisional pole at Denver Uses knowledge of track he conquered in 2002 to gain point on Tracy For the second time in 2003, CART implemented single-car qualifying on a street/road course at the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of ...
Junqueira takes provisional pole at Denver
Uses knowledge of track he conquered in 2002 to gain point on Tracy
For the second time in 2003, CART implemented single-car qualifying on a street/road course at the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver, allowing all 19 Champ Cars to take timed laps without fear of traffic on the 1.647-mile, 9-turn street course that rims the city's Pepsi Center. Bruno Junqueira, who won the 2002 inaugural race, gained provisional pole (and one point) for Sunday's 106-lap contest, urging his #1 PacifiCare Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone Champ Car to a record-breaking lap of 61.438 seconds (96.507mph) on the resurfaced circuit.
"I love single car qualifying here and I'm pleased to be back on pole. There's no excuses, no traffic. The lack of grip," Junqueira allowed, "is actually due to the altitude and not the racing surface, making it difficult for everyone." Veteran Adrian Fernandez was second in the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Lola at 61.583 seconds (96.280mph), just .145 seconds behind the Brazilian and was "very happy with our performance thus far. The track keeps improving every session, so we really can't complain." Junqueira and Fernandez had 4/10ths-second cushion on Darren Manning, who took third.
Having to abort his initial three-lap run when Mario Dominguez spun the #55 Herdez Lola in Turn 1, points leader Paul Tracy gained fourth for the day in the #3 Team Player's Lola at 62.056 seconds (95.546mph). Going for his fifth street-course victory of the year, Tracy "had to run the same tire pressure" after stopping and "the car didn't have any grip." Mario Haberfeld took fifth after leading practice.
Despite missing "a corner by quite a bit at the back of the track" and not being able to improve, Patrick Carpentier earned sixth place in the #32 Team Player's Lola at 62.165 seconds (95.478mph). Rookie Sebastien Bourdais was seventh on his third lap in the #2 McDonald's/Lilly Lola with a lap of 62.262 seconds (95.230mph). Despite not making changes from the morning session, "the car was very loose and the balance needs to be improved." He's afraid, if predicted rain occurs, "it won't help us move up."
Ten cars qualified today within one second, the final duo being Oriol Servia (#20 Visteon Lola) in ninth, who didn't think "we got the most out of the car." Molson Indy Montreal victor Michel Jourdain Jr., tenth in the #9 Gigante/Centrix Financial Lola "made big improvements from this morning."
Final qualifying, set for Saturday afternoon at 3:45PM EDT airs live on Speed TV, beginning at 3:30PM EDT.