Junqueira earns provisional pole in Monterey; last under the checkers for fast lap of the day. Bruno Junqueira and the ...
Junqueira earns provisional pole in Monterey; last under the checkers for fast lap of the day.
Bruno Junqueira and the #1 PacifiCare Lola/Ford/Bridgestone Newman/Haas Racing team got the last licks in a six-minute shoot-out for provisional pole position in Sunday's Grand Prix of Monterey at picturesque Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. As the full 19-car field went to the track for the end of the timed 40-minute session's allotment, it was Junqueira setting the fastest lap on his 10th and last tour at 70.040 seconds (115.031mph).
Junqueira, who led the field in combined practice times today said, "I have to thank the guy that called me on the radio to find the gap and get my chance put one lap. For the second set of tires we did a good change and I knew there was that [lap]." Junqueira had a good winter pre-season test at this venue, as did teammate Sebastien Bourdais, fourth in the Lilly Lola at 70.701 seconds (113.956mph).
Patrick Carpentier was second in the #32 Team Player's Lola at 70.314 seconds (114.583mph) set on his final try. "I think overall we have a good car, but I had first place for just a moment and that would have secured" the front row start, he said. "We still have some work to do on the balance."
Paul Tracy in the #3 Team Player's Lola at 70.341 seconds (114.549mph) earned third provisional for the scheduled 87-lap dogfight around this 2.238-mile road course. Tracy had the top slot until the sole red flag with ten minutes to go and improved on that when green flew four laps later, "I could see that there would barely be enough time to improve. I was caught in traffic and even though I improved my times, it was not good enough." Mario Haberfeld was fifth.
Adrian Fernandez took sixth for the day in his #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Lola. Point leader Michel Jourdain Jr. has seventh for the #9 Gigante Lola, the final car within one second of leader Junqueira at 70.970 seconds (113.524mph). Mario Dominguez turned the eighth quickest lap in time trials, 71.210 seconds (113.141mph) in the #55 Herdez Lola. Jimmy Vasser was ninth while Oriol Servia rounded out the top ten in the #20 Visteon Lola at 72.227 seconds (113.114mph).
It was a lovely day in Monterey, CA and similarly mild conditions, with temperatures in the sixties and clear skies are predicted for the balance of the weekend. Final qualifying airs at 5:30pm EDT on Speed while CBS shows the Grand Prix of Monterey live on Sunday at 3:30pm EDT.