CHAMPCAR/CART: Monterrey: Newman/Haas Racing Saturday report

Bourdais is 2 for 2 with Pole in Mexico; Junqueira to start 7th. POLE: Sebastien Bourdais 1:14.938 / 101.076 mph (NEW TRACK RECORD) 7th: Bruno Junqueira 1:16.018 / 99.640 mph OVERALL: The team repaired the damage to the ...

Bourdais is 2 for 2 with Pole in Mexico; Junqueira to start 7th.

POLE: Sebastien Bourdais 1:14.938 / 101.076 mph (NEW TRACK RECORD)
7th: Bruno Junqueira 1:16.018 / 99.640 mph

OVERALL: The team repaired the damage to the #1PacifiCare car from Friday's qualifying and Junqueira looked set to challenge for the pole again after running the fastest times in the pre-qualifying 10 minute practice. Unfortunately he was unable to get a clear lap although he felt his car was not as good as it had been in Friday's qualifying session. He ranked as high as fourth midway through the session and was fifth in the final minute before Alex Tagliani jumped into third place, which dropped Junqueira to seventh. He actually ran the sixth fastest time in the session but Paul Tracy, who was unable to participate in final qualifying due to a damaged race car, will start second because he is guaranteed a front row start after setting the fastest lap in Friday's qualifying. Bourdais's sixth timed lap enabled him to move to the top spot although Oriol Servia temporarily took the position. His 13th timed lap moved him to pole position and he was able to better his lap time on his 14th attempt and break the track record set by Kenny Brack in 2001.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #2 Newman/Haas Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "We had a good weekend in St. Pete despite the end result. I think it is going to be tougher this weekend. The track is slippery so it will be much easier to make a mistake. We increased the performance of our car this morning. The team did a fantastic job to make the Lilly car capable of winning the pole. I'm pretty happy. Yesterday the car was not so good and they worked hard and changed many things overnight. We were crossing our fingers. They have so much experience and it really shows at times like this. I have a good understanding working with (race engineer) Craig (Hampson). It's a really slippery track especially at the beginning (of the weekend). The grip is improving. Already today it is better. Everybody is pushing and pushing and pushing. If you slip into the grass it's not that bad. It was possible to do this lap earlier but it came down to timing. It's a beautiful place. I think I have never raced in such a great track. I never took so many pictures (with fans) and signed so many autographs in my entire life. They fans are very enthusiastic."

NOTES: This will be his first second race in Champ Cars...Won the pole in the CART season-opening race in his Champ car debut in St. Pete, Bourdais and became the first driver to accomplish the feat since Nigel Mansell won the pole for the '93 Australian event - also while driving for NHR...Bourdais led 30 laps in St. Pete and became the first driver in the 25 year history of series to lead the first laps of his inaugural Champ car race...He also set the fastest race lap...He is currently ranked 10th in the point standings with five points....He won two of the three bonus points in St. Pete (Friday and Sat. Qual.) and one of the three bonus points so far here...Earned his second pole in his second race and duplicated Mansell's feat (2 races/2 poles).

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "The PacifiCare car was good with old tires but not so good with new tires. For sure I could have gone faster but I didn't have a car capable of winning the pole. It was difficult to get a clear lap. It's going to be a tough race again like it was in St. Pete. Hopefully we can have a mistake-free race and move forward. We dropped to 14th in St. Pete after a bad stop and were able to get a podium (third place) finish. If we can have a trouble-free race and keep moving to the front, we can get a good result."

NOTES: Junqueira started 20th in the 2001 race in his debut in Champ cars and retired in 22nd place due to a mechanical failure. In 2002, he started the race in seventh place but was held up due to a multi-car accident started by rookie Townsend Bell and dropped to the back of the field. He charged back to sixth place by the final lap but he suffered an engine failure and retired in 11th place. This will be his THIRD race at this track.

TEAM NOTES: NHR driver Cristiano da Matta won the only two Champ car races held at this track. NHR driver Fittipaldi finished third in 2002... NINTH IN 17 RACES FOR NHR: Bourdais won the FIRST pole for NHR in MONTERREY as well as the NINTH in the past 17 CART Champ car events for the team. Former driver Cristiano da Matta won his first of seven CART FedEx poles 17 races ago in Monterey, Calif. and went on to win the pole another six times before the 2002 season concluded. Bourdais won the pole at the last race in St. Pete. Prior to da Matta's Monterey, Calif. pole, the previous pole for the team was 56 races before that when Michael Andretti won the pole at Road America in 1999.

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW: The pre-race warm-up will take place from 9:30-10:00 AM CT (local time) which will be followed by the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix at 1:30 PM CT. SPEED Channel will televise a 30-minute pre-race show prior to the live telecast of the race.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Kenny Brack , Townsend Bell , Sébastien Bourdais , Cristiano da Matta