Rain limited Pacificare driver Junqueira's provisional qualifying performance for G.I. Joe's 200 and he ended 7th fast; Lilly driver Bourdais 10th in provisional lineup. OVERALL: The initial 50-minute practice session in the morning ran...
Rain limited Pacificare driver Junqueira's provisional qualifying performance for G.I. Joe's 200 and he ended 7th fast; Lilly driver Bourdais 10th in provisional lineup.
OVERALL: The initial 50-minute practice session in the morning ran under dry conditions as the drivers began to put down rubber on the "green" race track. After a 40-minute break the teams returned to the track and were preparing to log quick lap times when rain came 20 minutes before the end of the 50-minute session. Qualifying started under a threat of rain but intermittent sprinkles gave way to rain in the final seven minutes of the session and Michel Jourdain, Junqueira, Bourdais and Geoff Boss were the only drivers to have completed less than nine laps as the others used the majority of their 15 laps earlier in the 40-minute session. Jourdain transferred a well-handling race car and perfect timing of running his eight laps into the provisional pole.
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "We were sitting in the pits waiting to run our second set of tires but about the time we were going to make our second run the rain came. The car was good enough to run a 59.4 which would have put us much higher in the provisional grid but one good thing about it is the fact that now only four cars have an extra set of new tires they didn't use today. Unfortunately Jourdain is guaranteed a front row start and also has an unused set of tires so I need to get pole tomorrow to start ahead of him because he is one of the guys I have to beat for the Championship. I hope Mother Nature is a race fan and she makes sure it doesn't rain in qualifying."
* NOTES: It will be his third race here...Started third and finished second in 2002 (to NHR driver da Matta) as well as set the fastest race lap. Started sixth and retired in 23rd place due to contact in the rain-soaked 2001event...Is currently in second place in the point standings with 83 and is only seven behind leader Jourdain who has 90 with the addition of one today.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "We needed time to improve the Lilly car from what we started with but unfortunately the rain in practice and in qualifying limited our time. Hopefully the rain will not effect the practice or qualifying session tomorrow so we can put in a full day's work to get the car better and so that I can learn the flow of the track. The car was a tenth place car anyway even if we were able to make our second run if the rain didn't come."
* NOTES: Will be his first race here... He earned three poles (2-road course; 1-oval) and two wins in six events so far. (He started in second place in England and fifth in Long Beach.) Has won a total of five bonus points this season (Friday & Saturday in St. Pete; Saturday in Monterrey, Saturday and Sunday in Germany)...He is currently ranked 5th in the point standings with 53 points.
* TEAM NOTES: The team has won SIX races here (Da Matta 2002; Michael Andretti 1990-1992; Mario Andretti 1985--1986) and THREE POLES (da Matta 2002; Mansell 1993; Mario Andretti 1984) as well as 11 PODIUM FINISHES (2nd - Ma. Andretti 1990, Mansell 1993), (3rd - Fittipaldi 1996, 2000, 2001).
ON TAP FOR TOMORROW: The morning practice session will take place from 10-11:15 AM and final qualifying will begin at 1:45 PM PT. SPEED Channel will televise final qualifying on a tape-delayed basis beginning at 5:30 PM ET.