CHAMPCAR/CART: St. Pete: Team Rahal Saturday qualifying report

Jourdain takes career best starting spot at St Pete. ST. PETERSBURG, FL . . .Team Rahal's Gigante driver Michel Jourdain Jr. qualified fifth for Sunday's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, marking his best ever Champ Car career start on a street ...

Jourdain takes career best starting spot at St Pete.

ST. PETERSBURG, FL . . .Team Rahal's Gigante driver Michel Jourdain Jr. qualified fifth for Sunday's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, marking his best ever Champ Car career start on a street course. Jourdain will make his 121st start in the Champ Car World Series, presented by Bridgestone and powered by Ford, on Sunday. He endured a frustrating qualifying session on Saturday which featured five red flags.

Jourdain was seventh overall after his initial qualifying run having suffered through three red flags in his five laps. After waiting patiently for nearly 15 minutes the Gigante team returned to the track on fresh Bridgestone tires looking for a final run at the front row. The fifth and final red flag left Jourdain with barely enough time to post his final two timed laps, but he made them count.

Jourdain posted his fast lap of 105.183 mph on his final timed lap. It was good enough to claim fifth on the starting grid and top his previous best start of sixth on a street course (Monterrey, Mexico 2002).

"We came here with a goal of qualifying in the top-five and we did that and overall I am pleased because we have a pretty good car," said Jourdain. "I think we have more in the car we just didn't get a chance to show it today. While we are pleased with fifth I am a bit disappointed because I felt like we could have put the car in the front row. We have made a real commitment to improving in qualifying this year and this is a strong start."

"It was tough out there today. With everyone worrying about the rain, people were pushing to get in their runs and they were making mistakes which caused all the red flags. There were so many red flags it made it difficult to get into a rhythm. I know it was the same for everyone, but it seemed like every red flag came during one of our runs. I was finally able to get a clean lap on the last run and that is the lap that put us fifth on the grid."

"Tomorrow I expect a lot of yellow's so it will pay to be patient. I know I have the best pit crew (2002 Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge champions) so I just have to be smart, take advantages of the mistakes of others and pass people in the pits and we will be good."

Sunday's Champ Car World Series opener, the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, will be seen live on SPEED (1:00 PM EST).

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michel Jourdain