Team Player's driver Paul Tracy secures pole position at Molson Indy Vancouver. Vancouver, British Columbia, July 26, 2003 Nothing, it seems, could keep Paul Tracy off the pole in Vancouver. After being unceremoniously stripped of his...
Team Player's driver Paul Tracy secures pole position at Molson Indy Vancouver.
Vancouver, British Columbia, July 26, 2003 Nothing, it seems, could keep Paul Tracy off the pole in Vancouver. After being unceremoniously stripped of his provisional pole yesterday following a controversial ruling, the Team Player's driver took the track early in the second qualifying session to re-capture the pole for the Molson Indy Vancouver, the eleventh stop in the 2003 Champ Car World Series.
With a fervent home crowd cheering him along the length of the 2.866 kilometre (1.781 mile) temporary street course, Tracy was the only driver in the session to break the 61-second mark, with a blistering hot lap of 1 minute, 0.926 seconds (169.360 km/hour). Bucking tradition, he recorded the time early in the session, when the track was quiet. With 14 minutes left, he sat back and waited for someone to top his time. Many tried, but none came close. Tracy closest competitor, Bruno Junquiera, posted a fast lap of one minute, 1.070 seconds (168.961 km/hour) in the final minutes of qualifying in an attempt to dislodge Tracy from the pole even with a spot on the front row secured with Friday's provisional pole. Roberto Moreno had the third fastest time of the day, with a time of one minute, 1.172 seconds (168.679 km/hour). Tracy's teammate Patrick Carpentier, who tagged the wall on Turn 12 in the final minutes of qualifying, causing a red flag, had his fast time taken away. His second quickest time of one minute 1.691 seconds (167.260 km/hour) was good enough to place him on the third row (6th) of the grid for Sunday's race. Canadian Alex Tagliani came in just behind Carpentier, with a time of one minute, 1.816 seconds (166.922 km/hour.)
"We wanted to go out there and set our time early in order to get out of the way so that nobody would have any reason to complain that we were in their way," Tracy said moments before receiving the Greg Moore Pole Award, which honours the Vancouver native and former Team Player's driver. "We set a mark for everybody to beat and nobody did. I've done the talking with my driving this year, while the others did it in pit lane or to the officials. I'm happy for Team Player's because we set the mark today, and I made a point and we did it in front of our home fans in Vancouver. Now we are going to win that race,"
His teammate Patrick Carpentier was not so satisfied. With eight minutes remaining in final qualifying, Carpentier hit the wall exiting the last turn, bringing out the red flags and scuttling his fast lap chances. "I pushed a little bit too hard going into the last corner of the track and went outside before I lost it. The same thing almost happened on the first set of tires at the same spot. We used Paul's setups for qualifying and the car was half a second quicker, but we didn't quite have the car to beat PT today. Paul did a very good job to win the pole. We will have to hammer away during the race and score maximum points because all the leaders in the championship race are always at the finish."
The Vancouver race will mark Tracy's eighth front row start this season. A win on the second Canadian stop of the series would not only give him his fifth victory of the year, but would also bring him the one step closer to a hat trick on the Champ Car swing through Canada.
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at Molson Indy Vancouver throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's web site. They can also watch the race live on the Global network at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday