CHAMPCAR/CART: Jourdain's on Portland provisional pole

In what could be termed a roller coaster season so far for the young mexican, Michel Jourdain is not one to let it bother him, each race is viewed as a new venture. Jourdain lost the Long Beach race on the final laps with a failed gearbox, he...

In what could be termed a roller coaster season so far for the young mexican, Michel Jourdain is not one to let it bother him, each race is viewed as a new venture. Jourdain lost the Long Beach race on the final laps with a failed gearbox, he came back at Milwaukee to clinch his first Champ Car career win. Then last weekend, at Laguna Seca, the team failed post-tech qualifying inspection, costing Jourdain the pole.

Today in Portland, Oregon, the Team Rahal driver again showed his ability to brush off the past, by taking the provisional pole.

"The car, it feels very good," stated Jourdain. "It is a good feeling knowing we go into tomorrow with a guaranteed front row spot, but the key is on Sunday that we hope to come our with a strong finish and score some more points."

Jourdain laid down a 59.397 second lap at the Portland International Raceway for a speed of 119.339 mph on his final flying run just prior to the return of rain at the track. The current CART Champ Car World Series points leader was more than happy to recieve the bonus point from today's first qualifying session of the weekend, and a guaranteed front row starting position for Sunday's G.I. Joe's 200.

Friday's qualifying for the provisional pole got underway after heavy rain had interupted this morning's second practice session. The track was dry; however, the heavy clouds still threaten possible afternoon showers.

The teams took to the track early after the third practice/qualifying warm up to lay down at least one good lap time.

Rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay was second fastest, his best on the season. The American Spirit Team Johnasson driver did a 59.432 seocond lap (119.269 mph). His teammate Jimmy Vasser was third, the verteran's time was just 0.001 seoncd slower than his Hunter-Reay.

Hunter-Reay commented, "We made some great changes and all worked together very well to get the car right after the first practice."

"We're very pleased," said Vasser, "We thought we might have a pretty good car here. we are pleased with how the car has run today."

Unfortunate for Hunter-Reay, the post-qualifying tech inspection failed the ASTJ car and he has been bumped from second on the proivisional grid to 19th position.

Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia was fourth followed by Adrian Fernandez (owner/driver) to round out the top five.

Red flags marred today's qualifying attempts. Patrick Carpentier and Marc Haberfield went off in turn eleven, unknown if the two touched prior to the incident.

With just nine minutes, the Canadian drivers, Paul Tracy and Alex Tagliani had contact bringing out the red flag. Rule is: if you cause the red flag, you lose your fast lap. In this case Tracy was surprised to come upon slow Tagliani.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Michel Jourdain