CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Team Rahal Saturday report

SURFERS PARADISE - Team Rahal's Gigante Champ Car driver Michel Jourdain Jr. claimed ninth on the starting grid for Sunday's Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise, Australia. The ninth place start marks the best Australian starting...

SURFERS PARADISE - Team Rahal's Gigante Champ Car driver Michel Jourdain Jr. claimed ninth on the starting grid for Sunday's Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise, Australia. The ninth place start marks the best Australian starting position of Jourdain's eight year Champ Car career. By failing to capture either of the qualifying points this weekend Jourdain is now eliminated from contention for the 2003 Champ Car World Series championship.

The 27-year-old native of Mexico City has been among the top-three in the title chase all season and led the championship following rounds six and seven. He trails points leader Paul Tracy by 43 points with 43 points remaining in the season. Even if the Jourdain could capture all the points and Tracy go scoreless over the two remaining races, Jourdain would lose the tie-breaker and subsequently the championship to Tracy.

"Unfortunately we lost some time this morning when we had a hose go bad on the Gigante car," said Jourdain. "We had a lot of work to do to make up ground from yesterday, but we just didn't get the track time we needed. We made some great strides I qualifying on the first set of tires, but we lost some laps on the second set due to traffic. This isn't the best track to start so far back on the grid. All we can do tomorrow is get a good start and be patient and have good pit stops. We have to put ourselves in position to take advantage of other people's mistakes and hope for problems at the front of the field."

Jourdain, third in the Champ Car World Series championship, has enjoyed a career year by setting personal marks in points (183), wins (2), pole positions (1) and laps led (347). Jourdain is vying to become the first Team Rahal driver to post 200 points in a season.

The Lexmark Indy 300 will be seen live in the United States on SPEED beginning at 12:30 am Sunday morning.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy , Michel Jourdain