Pacificare driver Junqueira on provisional pole for Mario Andretti GP of Road America - aims to earn consecutive poles here; Lilly driver Bourdais second. BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, ...
Pacificare driver Junqueira on provisional pole for Mario Andretti GP of Road America - aims to earn consecutive poles here; Lilly driver Bourdais second.
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "I'm really happy to be on pole today. The PacifiCare car was very good at the test before we came here and it was good today. I'm surprised to be so far of second place and my last lap was even four-tenths quicker but I had to slow down because Michel crashed and brought out the red. On the first set of tires in qualifying I put a very good lap in and I felt that was everything I could do but I also felt that the track would get better. I love this track. It really suits my driving style and I drive well here. It is difficult to get a completely perfect lap because it is four miles long and I like that challenge. It's my favorite track of the year and I am really pleased to race here again. It's also Paul Tracy's favorite track so to qualifying ahead of him today is good. It is important to beat him because of the tight championship. What matters is to have pole today. Let's see if we can hold onto it tomorrow. This is the most important race of the year for me. It's important to beat Tracy."
... NOTES: It will be his third race here ... Earned his first Champ Car victory at this track in rookie season in 2001 after starting 10th. Qualified on pole in 2002 and finished third despite slow second pit stop. Also set the fastest race lapâ ... If Junqueira wins the pole tomorrow in final qualifying, it will be his SIXTH pole in his 51st CART event at the Mario Andretti GP of Road America ... If he wins the pole tomorrow it would be his first with NHR and FOURTH on a ROAD/STREET COURSE ('02 poles in Elkhart Lake, Denver, Mexico City, '03 - TOMORROW) ... He has finished in the top-five in all NINE road/street course races so far this season including SEVEN podiums ... It was his FOURTH bonus point this season (Friday/Monterey, Friday/ Toronto, Friday/Vancouver, TODAY) ... If he earns the pole it would be the 12TH in the past 27 CART events for the team ... He is currently in second place in the point standings with 142 and is 19 behind leader Tracy who has 161.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "We are still very far from Bruno but second place is good. I'm pleased to be on the front row in provisional qualifying with Bruno. Newman/Haas did a very good job today. I'm really happy for the Lilly crew because we struggled a lot this morning. I couldn't find the feeling we had at the test today and we worked really hard before qualifying to make the car better and made a lot of changes. This track is a lot of fun. It suits my style and the way I learned to drive. It is the best race track we have been on so far this season. It's really demanding and you need 100 percent concentration. I felt more comfortable at the end of the test (June 26) than I did today so for sure we have room to improve the car and try to close the gap from Bruno."
... NOTES: Will be his first race here... Ran the second fastest unofficial time to Junqueira in pre-race testing in July ... He earned four poles (3-road course; 1-oval) and three wins in 11 events so far. (He started in second place in England and fifth in Long Beach.) Has won a total of six bonus points this season (Friday & Saturday in St. Pete; Saturday in Monterrey, Saturday and Sunday in Germany; Friday in Cleveland) ... He is currently ranked 4th in the point standings with 100 points.
... TEAM NOTES: In total the team has won EIGHT races (da Matta 2002, Fittipaldi 1999, Mi. Andretti 1996, 1991, 1990, Ma. Andretti 1987, 1984, 1983), FIVE poles (Mi. Andretti 1999, 1998, Ma. Andretti 1987, 1984, 1983*) and 15 podiums here (2nd - Mi. Andretti 1999, Tracy 1995, Mansell 1993; 3rd - Fittipaldi 1998, Ma. Andretti 1991, 1988, Jones 1985). Mario Andretti drove to victory from pole there in 1983 and earned the team the first of their 71 wins. NHR has won more races on this track than any other on the CART schedule. At the mid-season test here Junqueira ran the fastest lap while Bourdais ran the second fastest lap. (*was NHR's first win as well as first win from pole in their 6th event.) LAST YEAR IN ELKHART LAKE: NHR's da Matta won the race from a second place start last season and Fittipaldi finished sixth after a slow last stop.
ON TAP FOR TOMORROW: The practice session will take place from 10:00-11:15 AM and final qualifying will begin at 1:45 PM PT. All practice as well as qualifying and race action can be seen live on HDNet in the United States while the race can also be seen on FOX Sports en Espanol. Live audio of the CART Champ Car World Series is available for qualifying on Saturday, August 2 beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET, and the Mario Andretti Grand Prix of Road America on Sunday, August 3 - 3:00 p.m. ET, on the official web site of the CART Champ Car World Series. All times Eastern.