CHAMPCAR/CART: Junqueira on Laguna Seca provisional pole

CHAMPCAR/CART: Junqueira on Laguna Seca provisional pole

LAGUNA SECA, Calif. (June 13, 2003) -- Brazilian Bruno Junquiera of Newman/Haas Racing drove the fastest lap in Friday's qualifying session, earning himself a bonus point, at a time of 1:10.040, 115.031 mph. Junquiera moved into a tie with...

LAGUNA SECA, Calif. (June 13, 2003) -- Brazilian Bruno Junquiera of Newman/Haas Racing drove the fastest lap in Friday's qualifying session, earning himself a bonus point, at a time of 1:10.040, 115.031 mph. Junquiera moved into a tie with Canadian Paul Tracy in points standing, and now sits ten championship points behind leader Michel Jourdain.

Bruno Junqueira.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
Junquiera spoke about his first pole position of the season, "I've been second in qualifying four or five times this year so it's great to be first. At the end it came down to just one timed lap and I knew the first sectors of the lap were good so I took the last corners easy, I didn't want to make a mistake."

Junquiera's nearest competitor was Forsythe Racing's Patrick Carpantier, who had claimed pole just seconds earlier. Carpantier clocked in at 1:14.314 (114.583 mph) only to have Junquiera snatch pole as the checkered flag flew for both drivers.

"I knew my lap was good, but before I could celebrate, Bruno beat it," said Carpantier. "It's not bad but second means nothing today. I had first place for just a moment and that would have meant a secured position on the front row."

Carpantier's teammate, fellow Canadian Paul Tracy, had held top spot during the final half of qualifying. But when both American Spirit Team Johansson cars spun out in turn two, it brought out the red flag with less than ten minutes remaining. It looked as though Tracy's luck had started to turn. Most top runners at that point had come in for final adjust prior to the last round of hot-laps.

Tracy ended up in third position with a 1:14.431 lap when time expired. "We were quickest before the red flag came on and as time went by, I could see that there would barely be enough time to improve. But, when we got out, I was caught in traffic and even though I was able to improve my times, it was not good enough."

Michel Jourdain, sitting atop the Champ Car World Series points board, qualified in seventh. Rookie Points leader Sebastian Bourdais, finished behind Tracy for the fourth provisional spot. Local favorite Jimmy Vasser, victorious here in 1997, qualified ninth.

Second qualifying will take place tomorrow and will determine the starting lineup.

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Series IndyCar