Friday, April 07, 2006

Frenchie Lays It Down - Gains Seasons First Point

Sebastien Bourdais qualifies at Long Beach - Photo Credit: CCWS

The day was cool and so was the challange to be at the top of the point standings after today's first qualifing session of the season.

Excerpts from Champ Car website -

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

It took just 30 minutes for two-time defending Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford champion Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) to resume his place at the top of the point standings, as the Frenchman claimed the first available point of the 2006 season by leading Friday qualifying at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Bourdais earned the first point of the year and guaranteed himself a front-row starting spot for Sunday's season opener after posting a best lap of 1:07.675 (104.689 mph) to lead Friday qualifying at the 1.968-mile street circuit in Long Beach. Bourdais' fast lap ended a furious game of leapfrog atop the time charts, ending a chase that saw six different drivers hold the pole at various times throughout the 30-minute outing.

Bourdais headed a 1-2 Newman/Haas Racing sweep on a sunny Long Beach Friday, besting his teammate Bruno Junqueira (#2 Hole in the Wall Camps Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) by 0.066 seconds. Junqueira, who ran his first Champ Car session since his devastating accident in last year's Indianapolis 500, hung up a time of 1:07.741 (104.587 mph) on just his fifth lap of the year, slipping into the second spot.

Four-time Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach winner Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) showed his customary speed on the Southern California streets, ending his day in the third spot despite the fact that he banged the wall and shredded his right-rear tire with six minutes to go in the session. Tracy's best lap of 1:07.947 (104.270 mph) was the last of the 18-car field to card a time in the 67-second range on the day.
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So, tomorrow is the run for the pole, but Sebastian will get to be in the front row no matter what happens. Someone needs to break up the Newman/Haas Racing front row! Pray for our neighbor from the north (Tracy) doesn't keep banging the walls.

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