Tracy picks up the tempo Takes fifth pole of 2003 season Paul Tracy moved within one point of current points leader Bruno Junqueira (164-163) earning another championship point today in final qualifying for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio...
Tracy picks up the tempo
Takes fifth pole of 2003 season
Paul Tracy moved within one point of current points leader Bruno Junqueira (164-163) earning another championship point today in final qualifying for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio at the 2.258-mile Lexington, OH road course. Touring the 13-turn track at 67.058 seconds (121.220mph) in his #3 Team Player's Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone Champ Car, the Canadian earned his fifth pole position of the year to go with his five wins and the 18th of his stellar career. Nine of the top ten qualifiers for the 92-lap enduro are Lola-equipped; 13 of 19 starters qualified within one second.
"This feels really great," Tracy exhaled. "We did this under pretty tricky conditions, waiting a long time to go out" in the 40-minute qualifying session. "Usually it takes four laps for the tires to come in but I was able to get a clear track with nobody in front on my third lap this afternoon." On his second try, a red flag came out to end the session prematurely, leaving Ryan Hunter-Reay in second place in the #31 American Spirit Team Johansson Reynard.
"I was three-tenths quicker on the red flag lap than my fastest," shrugged rookie Sebastien Bourdais, starting third in the #2 Lilly Lola at 67.130 seconds (121.090mph) on this overcast afternoon. Track temps ranged from 100-114 with air temps around 80 degrees. "We knew the track would not be as quick at the start of the session so we waited," he explained after sitting out the first 17-18 minutes. "We came to get pole and we kept our same strategy. The red changed that." What to expect tomorrow in the 92-lap marathon? Bourdais believes the pace of the race "depends on the conditions. There are predictions of thunderstorms. We know we have a good setup for dry conditions."
Michel Jourdain Jr. lines up fourth in the #9 Gigante Lola, "happy because we were faster today and the red came out just after" after he set his lap of 67.236 seconds (120.900mph). Patrick Carpentier starts fifth in the #32 Team Player's Lola, qualifying at 67.296 seconds (120.792mph). Junqueira earned sixth slot in the #1 PacifiCare Lola, lapping at 67.300 seconds (120.785mph). "The grid is pretty close and we've got a very good race car," he said. "Everybody is so close it will be tough to pass."
Alex Tagliani starts seventh in the #33 Johnson Controls Lola, while Oriol Servia holds eighth in the #20 Visteon Lola. Mario Dominguez (#55 Herdez Lola) and Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Lola) round out the top ten. Speed TV has live coverage of the Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio starting at 1:30PM EDT.