CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Team PF Racing Saturday report

Tracy will start from the second row in Australia with high hopes of clinching the title SURFERS PARADISE, AUSTRALIA, October 25, 2003 - Team PFR driver Paul Tracy qualified third in Saturday's final qualifying session at Surfers Paradise in ...

Tracy will start from the second row in Australia with high hopes of clinching the title

SURFERS PARADISE, AUSTRALIA, October 25, 2003 - Team PFR driver Paul Tracy qualified third in Saturday's final qualifying session at Surfers Paradise in Australia. Tracy will therefore start Sunday's Lexmark Indy 300 from the second row right behind polesitter Sebastien Bourdais. Bourdais beat out teammate Bruno Junqueira by 0.276 seconds, who held the provisional pole following Friday's first session. The polesitter rounded the 4.498-kilometre (2.795-mile) temporary street course in 1 minute 31.718 seconds for an average speed of 176.554 km/h.

It was the fifth pole for the French rookie driver who will share the front row with his Newman-Haas teammate. Junqueira did improve on his Friday provisional time with a lap of 1:31.994, but missed out by 0.276 seconds. Tracy posted a lap time of 1:32 flat and will share the second row with fellow countryman Alex Tagliani. Tag finished fourth today with a time of 1:32.135. If Junqueira wins the race (20 points) and gets the point for most lap led, Tracy must finish second to secure his first-ever Champ Car title.

"The team really improved the car as we were able to close the gap to within less than three tenths with the Newman-Haas cars," said Tracy. "During my career, I have never been a great qualifier, but I have always qualified well here. I like the track and it always offers new challenges as each year, the chicanes are a bit different. The team sat down and analyzed where we could improve the car and we did. Not only did I attack the curbs more this afternoon but I used a completely different line and was 12 mph faster. Bruno did not get the point today so it's helping us in our quest for the title. This a crazy race, a chaotic race and you never know what is going to happen until the checkered flag comes out. The key is to be up there at the front at the finish."

His teammate Carpentier finished 11th and was not a happy camper with his lap time of 1 minute 33.437 seconds (173.306 km/h). Carpentier does not like the car's performance.

"With all the changes we made, we did not improve the car at all," said Carpentier. "It was better with the first set of tires than on the second but I also had trouble down shifting. I just couldn't be aggressive with the car at all and it is still much too slow in the chicanes. We'll take a look at Paul's set up for the race and work from there. The good thing is that with this track and race, anything can happen and usually does. In the past few races I have worked my way from a weak starting position to finish strongly. I'll be looking to do that in this race."

Drivers will return on track Sunday morning at 10:45 a.m. local time (8:45 p.m. Eastern Time Saturday) for the race warm-up. The green flag for the Lexmark Indy 300, round 18 of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series will be dropped at 12.30 a.m. Eastern Time Sunday, and race fans can watch the 65-lap race live on The Sport Network (TSN).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Alex Tagliani , Sébastien Bourdais