CHAMPCAR/CART: Jourdain Jr fastest on Saturday at Laguna Seca

LAGUNA SECA, Calif. (June 14, 2003) -- Team Rahal driver Michel Jourdain Jr. blistered the Laguna Seca circuit in his ...

LAGUNA SECA, Calif. (June 14, 2003) -- Team Rahal driver Michel Jourdain Jr. blistered the Laguna Seca circuit in his #9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth Lola, setting a quick lap at 1:09.546, 115.875 mph, snaring pole position for Sunday's Champ Car World Series event. Update:
Patrick Carpentier wins pole position after Jourdain's car failed tech inspection. Jourdain's car was underweight after qualifying. He will start thirteenth on his Friday qualifying time. The championship point goes to Carpentier rather than Jourdain.

The original qualifying story follows:

Joudain jumped out early in qualifying, while most of his rivals stayed in the pits to see what the pace would be. During that time, Junquiera, Carpantier and Tracy sat patiently waiting until the final moments.

"Well, it was a really weird day," commented Joudain. "Coming into the weekend, I mean when we came here for testing in January, Newman Haas was so fast. I really thought they would be so hard to beat. When I made my time I was really amazed."

"You know, Player's, they were very fast on the road courses last year, too." Jourdain said. "So I was expecting - to tell you the truth, for me qualifying fifth would have been like almost pole position. So yesterday when we were seventh, I thought we could maybe be a little faster."

After Jourdain came in, Oriol Servia drove off into the tires at turn four bringing a brief stoppage to the session. When the green flag flew again, all bets were off and the floodgates opened. The quickest cars set out to upset Jourdain's second pole position of the season.

Player's Team drivers Patrick Carpantier and Paul Tracy set second and third fastest qualifying times Saturday. Carpantier quick lap of 109.575, just .045 seconds behind Joudain, lands him third starting position, directly behind the Mexican native inside row two.

By virtue of his provisional pole spot gained in Saturday's qualifying, Bruno Junquiera will start outside the front row for Newman Haas Racing. Junquiera lowered his time from yesterday, rounding out the top four drivers, who were all under 1:10.

"Things went alright," Junquiera said. "The car is still really fast. On the first set of tires, I could not get a fast lap, and I was really surprised at Michel's time. When asked about tire wear for tomorrows race, Junquiera was not overly concerned. "Having good tires is important but having a consistent car is more important here. Everyone is very close."

Tracy's frustration with his outside row two starting position was evident. "We are not even two tenths off and in fourth," Tracy said. "The car was inconsistent. I would go into the fourth corner and the car would understeer. The next time at the same spot it would oversteer. I did my best out there today."

Tire problems also fell upon two-time series winner and Newman Haas teammate Sebastian Bourdais. "I have no idea what happened but we had no power when we put the second set of tires on. On my first run I didn't get clear laps by the time I had already passed the top performance of my Bridgestone tires."

Jourdain extends his lead in the Champ Car points, grabbing one point for the pole-winning spot. Going into tomorrow's race, Jourdain has an eleven-point margin from Tracy and Junquiera.

Mi-Jack Conquest Racing's rookie driver Mario Haberfeld continued to impress, setting fastest time for teams racing Reynard chassis. "We were not as competitive as we were yesterday, but I'm satisfied with our starting position. We still have some issues with balance but I'm confident that we'll be okay for the race." Haberfeld's time of 1:10.244 (114.697 mph), places him inside the fourth row.

The top six qualifying spots are held by Lola chassis. Lola is enjoying exceptional results this season, spring boarding off the championship win last year of former Newman Haas driver Christiano De Matta. Lola has claimed all seven pole positions this season and is looking for seven straight victories.

PK Racing and Champ Car announced today that former Champ Car driver, Italian native Max Papis, will be returning to the series in Portland next week. Another former CART driver, Brian Herta, signed a one-race deal with PK Racing to fill the seat this weekend. Word has it that there may be a permanent ride for Herta with PK later this year.

"I am very happy to be joining PK Racing from Portland on," said Papis, from Le Mans, where he is driving in the famed 24 Hour race. "I love driving single seaters and feel like I will be going home ... coming back to drive in CART. I hope I can bring some of my open wheel experience to the PK Racing team and help them achieve some of their goals this season."

Jourdain fails tech, Carpentier on pole

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Bruno Junqueira , Max Papis , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Brian Herta , Michel Jourdain , Patrick Carp
Teams Conquest Racing