CHAMPCAR/CART: Elkhart Lake: Bridgestone Saturday qualifying report

Junqueira captures first road course pole in CART career. Bruno Junqueira was raised as a road racer and he put that experience to use today in winning the first road course pole position of his CART FedEx Championship Series career. It is ...

Junqueira captures first road course pole in CART career.

Bruno Junqueira was raised as a road racer and he put that experience to use today in winning the first road course pole position of his CART FedEx Championship Series career. It is Junqueira's second pole position this season on Bridgestone tires (first was on the oval at Motegi, Japan) and the third pole of his two-year career.

Junqueira won the pole over longtime Brazilian friend Cristiano da Matta, the provisional pole sitter who will start second in Sunday's race. Junqueira clocked the best lap of 142.659 mph, then crashed into a tire barrier while avoiding a slower car on the ensuing lap that may have been even faster. Because no red flag was waved for Junqueira's incident, he was allowed to keep his fast lap and the pole.

"I did a very good lap and I knew that I was P-1," Junqueira said. "On the last lap I was just pushing my max to make sure Cristiano didn't get in front of me again. On that last lap I was like three-tenths (of a second) faster. (Shinji) Nakano was in front of me and made a little mistake, and I had to spin to avoid a crash. But luckily I keep the pole. I just love this track. I learned how to race at tracks like this. It suits my style and I enjoy so much to drive here that I drive really fast. The Bridgestone tires are very good this weekend, very consistent, unbelievable. There's no big difference between new tires and used tires."

All 18 cars in the Road America starting grid are equipped with Bridgestone Potenza racing radials. Bridgestone, the Official Tire of CART, joined the FedEx Championship Series this season.

Quote from Joe Barbieri, Project Supervisor, Bridgestone Motorsport: "CART has given us another wild and exciting finish to qualifying, which has to make the fans happy. It certainly was worth waiting for. As tough as this track can be for tires, the drivers were still able to run their quickest laps at the very end of the session. Bruno obviously had the confidence in his Bridgestones to push his car to the limits on the pole-winning lap, and on the next lap that might have been quicker had he been able to complete it. As Bruno and many of the drivers have told us this weekend, their Potenzas are more than holding up to the challenge of this tremendous road course. We expect that to continue in the race tomorrow."

Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 93 to 99 degrees track and from 85 to 89 degrees ambient (F); Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 34 to 37 degrees track and from 29 to 32 degrees ambient (C).

-bridgestone-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Cristiano da Matta