CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Newman/Haas Racing Friday report


BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

"I'm really happy to get the pole today for the PacifiCare team. It's a really important weekend for me. For sure the point for the pole is important as is guaranteeing a front row start. We'll see what Paul (Tracy) can do but I'll try to do my part and have the Championship go down to Fontana. We went early in the session because we were afraid it would rain. After my first run I had pole but Alex and Sebastien went a bit later than me and they improved their times. On my second run I had a lap that put me on pole but last year I lost pole to Cristiano (da Matta) by 1/100ths of a second so I didn't want that to happen again. I pushed really hard to get everything out of the car and was able to better my time. It's so difficult to get a good lap on this long of a track. I'm trying to do my best. I'm in a position where I don't depend on just myself anymore. My situation also depends on what Tracy does. I want to get as close to Tracy as possible in the points so I have a shot at the Championship in Fontana. With two races left I have to not only hope I finish mush farther ahead of him. I also have to hope he'll have at least one bad race. I think the close battle between myself, Paul, Michel and Sebastien has been exciting for the fans."


Will be his third race here...Lost pole position to da Matta by a mere 1/100ths of a second in 2002. Started second, led eight laps but finished 14th in the rain-shortened event. Started and finished 21st in 2001 due to contact...He is currently ranked second in the point standings with 198 to Tracy's 226 (-28).

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

"We were really unfortunate in the session. I had a pretty good first run and was close to Tag (Alex Tagliani) in P2 (position two). On my second run I think I had a P1 car but the pop off valve stayed open so I had to pit. We had a miscommunication in the pits and lost time to do one more lap than we were able to. Basically we weren't able to achieve anything on the second run and we had more potential in the car. Hopefully we can have the same chance tomorrow but have a trouble free session. This is a very challenging track. Running a quick lap has a lot to do with having a good balance and jumping the curbs."


Will be his first race here...He earned four poles (3-road course; 1-oval) and three wins so far this season...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 158 points.


NHR has earned THREE WINS (Da Matta 2001, Tracy 1995, Mansell 1993), FIVE POLES (Da Matta 2002, Mi. Andretti 1995 & 1991, Mansell 1993-1994) and SIX PODIUM finishes (3rd - Fittipaldi 1998, Mi. Andretti 1997, Ma. Andretti 1994)...LAST YEAR IN AUSTRALIA: Cristiano da Matta started on pole, set the fastest racing lap and led all laps under racing conditions in rainy Australia but finished 8th after the race was shortened due to the rain. Christian Fittipaldi started 12th, led one lap and looked set to finish 2nd until CART shortened the race and he finished 11th.


The practice session will take place from 10:00-11:15 AM and final qualifying will begin at 1:45 p.m. Live coverage of qualifying will be carried on All times are specific to Surfer's Paradise, Australia.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Christian Fittipaldi