CHAMPCAR/CART: Tracy on pole, off pole - now Junqueira

CART stewards have penalized Paul Tracy for Rule 5.4.8 and have removed his fastest lap of Friday's qualifying session. Tracy lost the provisional pole to Bruno Junqueira. Further update tomorrow after the second day qualifying session. Mr.

CART stewards have penalized Paul Tracy for Rule 5.4.8 and have removed his fastest lap of Friday's qualifying session. Tracy lost the provisional pole to Bruno Junqueira.

Further update tomorrow after the second day qualifying session.

Mr. Levin's original qualifying story:

Canadian Paul Tracy continues to be the man to beat in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, as he conquered his rivals by claiming top spot in Friday qualifying at BC Place in Vancouver Canada.

Tracy's provisional pole setting time of 1:01.706 (103.906 mph) beat out his nearest championship foe, Brazilian Bruno Junqueira, by just .139 seconds and grabbed an extra championship point for the effort on the demanding 1.78 mile street course.

"It's very important to set the fastest time on Friday as it gives you more leeway for Saturday." Tracy said. "Team Player's can now either concentrate on race set ups or save tires for the race. But, I think we will attack again tomorrow and hope that we can get into a rhythm for the second qualifying session."

In addition to the extra point, which extends his lead to 16 points, Tracy is guaranteed a front row starting position for Sunday's race. It was the fifth time this season that the "Thrill" has taken provisonal pole.

Junqueira, who beat out Tracy by just 0.003 seconds to take top spot in the second practice heat, improved on his final qualifying hot lap but fell just short at 1:01.845 (103.672 mph).

"There was a big mess with everybody (running) on the track at the end of the session, and I couldn't get a clear lap." Junqueira said. "That's pretty much what's happened. It's unfortunate. I don't know, Tracy is now saying that someone was slow, but I was in a very good lap."

The top drivers for Forsythe Racing and Newman/Haas Racing, namely Tracy, Patrick Carpantier, Junqueira and rookie Sebastian Bourdais, waited over halfway through the qualifying round before attempting their first hot laps.

After Tiago Monteiro brought out a Red Flag, stopping the session 25 minutes into the run, all remaining cars took to the track in a free-for-all shootout.

Tracy ran just two stints during the session, achieving his quick time after only a few minutes on the circuit, but could'nt find clear air after pitting for fresh tires.

"I went right out into the middle of a group of traffic and was never able to do another lap," Tracy commented. "So that was pretty frustrating because we made a small change on the car, a wing change. I felt that we could improve on the time if we could have put four or five laps together."

The time remaining showed a menage of leapfrog moves by rookie Bourdais, Canadian Alex Tagliani and Patrick Racing's Oriol Survia who finished third through fifth respectively.

Making one of his finest qualifying efforts all season was Brazilian driver Roberto Moreno, who's lap of 1:02.216 held the top spot for more then 20 minutes before settling for sixth best. "I'm very pleased with the development we've done here today. We based our starting point on our Toronto setup and the car has handled quite well."

The top ten cars all ran within a second of each other, with Mexican Adrian Fernandez rounding out the top ten with a time of 1:02.469.

There's one more point available for Saturday's final pole position run. One skillful driver will claim it and a spot on the front row for Sunday's 100-lap race.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Tiago Monteiro , Patrick Carp