Sebastien Bourdais wins the pole position - Photo Credit: CCWS
Sebastian Bourdais sets new track record on his way to keeping the provisional pole position he earned yesterday, and scoring the 19th pole of his career (tying him for 10th all time with Rex Mays and Danny Sullivan). Tracy drops to a disappointing sixth position in the starting grid.
This from the CCWS website -
A Champ Car driver gets 15 laps around any given track in order to set a fast time in qualifying, but two-time defending Bridgestone Presents Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford champion Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), used just six of them to establish his dominance in Long Beach.
Bourdais set a new track record on his sixth trip around the 1.968-mile Long Beach street circuit, then decided to spend the rest of his day admiring his handiwork, getting out of car after just one stint on his red-walled Bridgestone Potenza tires. His top lap of 1:06.886 (105.924 mph) was nearly a half-second better than anything anyone else in the 18-car field was able to muster on a sunny Saturday, giving him the Bridgestone Pole Position for tomorrow's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The defending Long Beach champion earned his 19th career Champ Car pole with the effort, moving him into a tie for 10th on the all-time Champ Car list. He will be joined on the front row for tomorrow's 76-lap affair by RuSPORT's Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), who snared the second spot in today's qualifying with a best lap of 1:07.208 (105.416 mph). Bourdais' Newman/Haas Racing teammate Bruno Junqueira (#2 Hole In The Wall Camps Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) rounded out the top three after posting a top effort of 1:07.225 (105.389 mph).
Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was the first driver to wrest the top spot away from Bourdais, vaulting to the top of charts at the halfway-point of the 35-minute session.
Tracy's best lap triggered a furious run of quick circuits that saw his Forsythe Championship Racing teammate Mario Dominguez (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) jump ahead before Bourdais decided to put his cards on the table. Using the red-walled option tires from Bridgestone, the Frenchman went to the point on his third lap, got into the 66-second range on his fifth and set his eventual pole-winning time on his next pass.
Tomorrow's season-opening Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will take the green flag at 1 p.m. local, 4 p.m. Eastern. The race can be seen live on NBC as well as the official website of the Champ Car World Series, www.champcar.ws, using the popular Race Director feature.
The top nine positions are within one second of each other making this first race for ChampCar more competitive than the IndyCar qualifying at the St. Pete street course last week. IndyCar only managed to have the top six cars post times within one second of the top qualifying time.
Tomorrow, MAXINE will be on the streets of Long Beach! Yeah!