Paul Tracy pads his championship lead with provisional pole win at Champ Car event in Mexico City. Mexico City, Mexico, October 10, 2003 Paul Tracy of PF Racing added an extra point to his Champ Car World Series championship lead on Friday ...
Paul Tracy pads his championship lead with provisional pole win at Champ Car event in Mexico City.
Mexico City, Mexico, October 10, 2003 Paul Tracy of PF Racing added an extra point to his Champ Car World Series championship lead on Friday by winning the Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante provisional pole by six one-hundredths of a second over Brazilian Bruno Junqueira, his closest rival for the drivers' title.
Tracy, who clocked the day's fastest time (1 minute, 28.842 seconds at an average speed of 112.893 miles per hour) on the fifth lap of his first stint on the 2.786-mile road course, assured himself of a front-row starting position for Sunday's 70-lap race. Equally important, he increased his lead in the drivers' standings to 14 points.
Tracy's PF Racing teammate Patrick Carpentier, who topped the charts in the final pre-qualifying practice session, recorded the eighth quickest qualifying lap, after briefly holding the provisional pole when he toured the circuit in 1:29.616 (111.918 mph). Only two of the top 10 contenders for the pole were able to improve their times on their second qualifying stint.
"We're very happy with this provisional pole," said Tracy, who is seeking the first drivers' crown of his Champ Car career. "It gives us a much-needed point and puts us on the front row for the race. That's what we need to do.
"I got the fastest time in that first outing, and then the track got very slippery, so I just wasn't able to put in a faster lap. Fortunately, the time in that first stint stood up. I know there are still improvements we can make on the car. We're going to go at Saturday's qualifying with the same intensity and purpose, and fight for another pointand the pole."
In clocking the eighth fastest lap, Carpentier overcame some mechanical problems in both of the morning practice runs. The team had to change the differential and the brakes between sessions, and just when Carpentier was ready to go out with six minutes remaining in the second practice, there was an electronic failure of the shifter system.
"The car ran well on the first set of tires and I set my quickest lap of the day," explained Carpentiier, who had a strong fourth place finish in Mexico City last year. "The team modified the settings a bit to bring them closer to what Paul (Tracy) is using, but I pushed a little too hard and had to take the escape road at the end of the straight. I flat-spotted my tires and I could not improve my time after that. If the weather holds up for tomorrow, we should improve our performance and be up there with the leaders."
Racing fans can follow the Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at lastlap.ca. They can also watch the race live on the The Sports Network starting at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.