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



Oriol Servia, No. 2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "I'm just very pleased for PacifiCare, to give them my first pole. You know, I had to be on pole to delay Sebastien's championship. It's much better (for him) to celebrate on a Sunday than a Saturday. It feels great to get the pole, great. I had some provisional's (poles) before, but it feels much better to have this one, I can tell you that. I was very happy in the morning; I was P1. The car felt great. I love this place, so everything was looking good. But in qualifying, we had like seven minutes remaining and I was P8 or P9. One of those sessions, either you do a mistake or you find traffic. I just couldn't put a lap together. I shortcut the chicane once, drove through it. It was one of those things that you see the session going on and you fall back in the middle of the field. I think it was three laps to go that I did that lap. I was happy. I still thought -- you know, there was still two laps and I thought I was going to be able to improve. One (lap) I didn't and the last one I ran out of fuel. It is one of those tracks like Elkhart Lake, where there are a lot of corners and it's hard to put it all together in one lap. You make mistakes, catch traffic, there's something always going on out there. I'm just happy was good enough to be P1. I'm definitely starting in a better place tomorrow.

(About the last lap when he ran out of fuel:) "The good thing is as soon as I felt it, sometimes you feel it and you kind of pray, are you going to be able to finish the lap. Then you end up with the engine with no fuel in the middle of a corner that you can do nothing. As soon as I felt I was not going to finish the lap, I just tried to find a place, safe place, hoping it was safe enough they were not going to call the red and I would lose my fast lap. Especially since there were three seconds on my clock. I was hoping the time would hold. Plus I had two laps I think in the same lap time, so I was hoping I was going to keep it anyway.

"It was one more enjoyable day being part of Newman/Haas. All year I just had great times since day one that I joined them. It's true, you know, every day I am with them, I feel better. You know, it's just a great experience. I'm really enjoying it. That's the attitude I have. I came to Surfers thinking that I love this place in general. I love the racetrack. I was trying to do my best. Yesterday I was extremely pissed off with myself because I did one of my worst qualifying sessions ever. I think in 15 laps in qualifying, I was only able to do two, because all the others I was just making mistakes and going through the chicane straight, then driving through. I wasn't happy with myself yesterday. I'm pleased that today I was able to be here."

- FAST FACTS: It was his first career Champ Car pole in his 97th event....Servia delayed Bourdais' bid for the title by earning the point for pole today...It was the seventh pole for NHR here (Servia '05, Bourdais '03, Da Matta '02, Mi. Andretti '95 & '91, Mansell '93-'94) and their 92nd overall...It was the 29th pole in the past 58 Champ Car events for the team...

Will be his be his sixth race here. Drove to a 13th place finish in 2004 after he started last due to not posting a qualifying time. Started sixth in 2003 and finished 19th after contact. Started ninth in 2002 and finished 16th after mechanical failure. Started 12th and finished 25th in 2001 due to a mechanical failure. Started 14th and finished ninth in 2000.

Sebastien Bourdais, No. 1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "Well, it was about as chaotic as it could have been really for me and my McDonald's team. We had a lot of incidents during the session, one with Mario (Dominguez) that was a little surprising to me because then we got penalized for shortcutting the chicane when trying to avoid a contact on the pit-out. I was a little upset. We weren't able to accomplish anything in the first run. The second run was going pretty well, then I caught Justin and had to back off. I had a pretty good lap going on. I thought I had one more lap but apparently I crossed the start/finish line as the checkered flag came out and I didn't know it. When I came into the pits, I was like, that's got to be good enough for pole when I ran a 32.5 but I didn't count. I am very happy for Oriol. That's a very good result for the team; he starts on pole. Well done, my friend."

- FAST FACTS: Bourdais did not realize he took the checkered flag in final qualifying and thought he had one more flying lap and posted a 1:32.5 time which would have been fast enough for pole but the lap did not count as the session had already ended before his car crossed the timing sensor...Will be his third race here. In 2004, he could have clinched title here if he gained an additional seven points over his teammate Junqueira (total of 35). Was the provisional polesitter which allowed him to increase his lead to 28 points over second. Set the third fastest time in final qualifying but started second based on his prov. pole. Junqueira was able to gain a position on him after his second stop and he ultimately finished second and lost ground in the points lead (335-313)...Started on pole in 2003 but finished 17th. He and Paul Tracy made contact early in the race but he held second place until he lost control of his race car and crashed when rain began to fall, followed by hail and a temporary halt to the event...Leads the point standings with 311 over second place Oriol Servia's 244 (+67). He is attempting to become the first back-to-back champion since Gil de Ferran (2000-01). A last place finish of 19th tomorrow will earn him the title.

- NEWMAN/HAAS RACING FACTS: In their previous 14 years of racing here, NHR has earned FOUR WINS (Junqueira 2004, Da Matta 2001, Tracy 1995, Mansell 1993), SEVEN POLES (Servia 2005, Bourdais 2003, Da Matta 2002, Mi. Andretti 1995 & 1991, Mansell 1993-1994) and EIGHT PODIUM finishes (2nd -- Bourdais 2004; 3rd - Fittipaldi 1998, Mi. Andretti 1997, Ma. Andretti 1994)...Since they began competition in 1983, Newman/Haas Racing is the most successful team competing in the Champ Car World Series and the second most successful overall open-wheel racing team competing today. Marlboro Team Penske (MTP) has earned 124 open-wheel wins and is in their 38th season while NHR has earned 89 and is in their 23rd. During the years that NHR has been in existence (1983-current) MTP has earned 85 wins while NHR has earned 89 wins (includes MTP's 7-24 Milwaukee win). Perhaps the most impressive detail however is the fact that NHR ran only one driver it's first six seasons (Mario Andretti) while MTP ran two-to-three drivers per season. From 1989 to present, NHR has been a two-car team while MTP expanded from a two car team to run three cars for three of those seasons.

ON THE SCHEDULE TOMORROW: The morning warm-up will take place from 9:30-10:00 AM local time while the Lexmark Indy 300 will begin at 1:25 PM local time.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Oriol Servia , Mario Andretti , Sébastien Bourdais
Teams Team Penske