Rains help Junqueira keep Denver pole Servia fastest in final qualifying to earn outside front row slot Volatile, cool weather ruled final qualifying for the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver, as rain pummeled the 1.647-mile, 9-turn course...
Rains help Junqueira keep Denver pole
Servia fastest in final qualifying to earn outside front row slot
Volatile, cool weather ruled final qualifying for the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver, as rain pummeled the 1.647-mile, 9-turn course around the Mile High City's Pepsi Center just as the final two drivers aimed to take timed laps. With his Friday record of 61.438 seconds (96.507mph), Bruno Junqueira keeps pole position in the #1 PacifiCare Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone Champ Car without turning a wheel today. "I wanted to get another point, but the rain didn't let us go out. I hope we can have a good race tomorrow" in the 106-lap shootout.
Oriol Servia, 9th Friday in the #20 Visteon Lola set fast lap this afternoon at 61.477 seconds (96.446mph) -- .039-seconds off Junqueira's pace to earn a point and second on the 19-car grid. "Yesterday I was not really happy with the car or myself; today I am. This is a nice step forward," said the Spaniard who now holds 94 6th-place points.
Rookie Sebastien Bourdais improved pre-rain to take third in the #2 McDonald's/Lilly Lola at 61.547 seconds (96.336mph) and was "pleased with this result" and the balance of his Lola. Adrian Fernandez, starting his second timed lap (of three) when the skies opened, relied on his Friday tour of 61.583 seconds (96.280mph) to take fourth in the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Lola. "Our Lola has been very fast all weekend and we felt we had a shot at pole," he said.
Recovering from a spin on his second flying lap when he found a damp spot in turn 1, Patrick Carpentier gained sixth on the grid with a lap of 61.804 seconds (95.936mph) in the #32 Team Player's Lola. Paul Tracy starts ninth in the #3 Team Player's Lola using his Friday lap of 62.056 seconds (95.546mph) after spinning on his faster, final timed lap. "I knew we had a good time going and that I had to push to the limit. I lost it," Tracy said. Michel Jourdain Jr. is tenth in the #9 Gigante/Centrix Financial Lola with a better lap of 62.141 seconds (95.415mph) saying, "The changing conditions made it very difficult." Alex Tagliani's #33 Johnson Controls Lola, the last within one second of the leader, starts 11th, improving from 16th on Friday and "happier with the car today."
Tracy leads Junqueira 192-165 going into race #15 of 19 on the schedule tomorrow. Track position is important here in Denver, as Junqueira can attest after winning from pole last year and leading all laps. Volatile weather could again skew the standings when the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver kicks off at 3PM EDT. The race can be viewed live on the Internet at www.cart.com <http://www.cart.com/> and Speed TV broadcasts at 9PM EDT.