Tracy retains pole Hopes to solidify title chances in Mexico City The 2.786-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City did not improve for final qualifying to set the field for Sunday's Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante presented by ...
Tracy retains pole
Hopes to solidify title chances in Mexico City
The 2.786-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City did not improve for final qualifying to set the field for Sunday's Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante presented by Banamex-Visa, enabling Paul Tracy to retain pole position for Round #17 of the 19-race Champ Car campaign. The Canadian will place his #3 Team Player's Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone racer inside the front row tomorrow, based on his Friday lap of 88.842 seconds (112.893mph). This is Tracy's sixth 2003 pole position.
Tracy noted the track became slick from morning practice and "I just didn't feel I could have matched Friday's time even though the car wasn't too bad. The start should be pretty interesting because there could be some excitement in that first corner with that long straightaway and some drafting going on off the start."
Tiago Monteiro was quickest in sunny, warmer (mid-70s) conditions of final qualifying, yet title contender Bruno Junqueira lines up third in the #1 PacifiCare Lola, using his Friday lap of 88.905 seconds (112.813mph) to secure the spot. "It wasn't the best qualifying session for us but we did get one good lap on the first set of tires, as Paul did. This track has passing opportunities and will be an exciting race tomorrow."
Teammate Sebastien Bourdais, looking to lock up Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year honors at this event starts fourth in the #2 Lilly Lola, unable to improve on his Friday lap of 89.110 seconds (112.553mph). "We had a fast car today but weren't able to get the most out of it because of the conditions," he noted.
Michel Jourdain Jr., the first driver to take to the circuit for final time trials did better his Friday speed, urging his #9 Gigante Lola to a tour of 89.351 seconds (112.219mph), yet the Mexican ace who led practice earlier in the day could only attain eighth place on the 20-car starting grid. "The balance was better than yesterday but the track was a lot warmer. The increased temperatures really affected our Lola," Jourdain explained.
With only three races remaining in the 19-event Champ Car series, Sunday's 70-lap race in Mexico City is an important one for all title contenders. Tracy leads Junqueira 205-191, while Jourdain has 171 points and Bourdais holds 142. Thunderstorms are predicted for late afternoon, and the green flag flies at 3:30PM EDT for Speed TV's live telecast.