Sebastien Bourdais claimed fastest lap in the final practice session at the Milwaukee Mile in the build up to the fourth round of the Champ Car World Series.
With just 20 minutes to go, the Frenchman lapped the 1.032-mile oval in 21.127 seconds, at an average speed of 175.851mph, which will give him the theoretically favorable final run in the one-by-one qualifying session.
The Newman/Haas team are this weekend seeking to break their poor run of form at Milwaukee, having not taken a win here since Michael Andretti triumphed in 1996, and failing to take pole since Michael's '88 success.
Second fastest time this morning went to Alex Tagliani, but the Canadian missed the majority of the two-hour session when he crashed at Turn 4 after just 20 minutes, while fastest.
The Team Australia ace explained: "We had a done a quick run, gone top, and then I pitted and we changed the weight distribution to remove a little of the push [understeer]. We still had a decent amount of push through Turn 1 and Turn 3, and I was back on the throttle for three seconds when the rear just snapped round and we were in the wall."
One theory for the accident is that he might have run over the sand used to soak up the oil left by Cristiano da Matta's accident at Turn 4 just 10 minutes earlier. Dale Coyne driver da Matta was unhurt in his shunt, but Tagliani has had to have six stitches in his right hand.
Although Tagliani has been cleared by Champ Car's medical team to qualify, Team Australia does not have a spare car and is working hard to rebuild Alex's original car in time for qualifying. Should they run out of time, Alex should still be able to start the race from the back of the grid.
Newman/Haas Racing's Bruno Junqueira was the third driver to crash in the practice session, but he was still fifth quickest. Third and fourth went to AJ Allmendinger of RuSPORT and Paul Tracy (Forsythe Championship Racing).
Oriol Servia was sixth fastest for PKV Racing, while his team-mate Katherine Legge, who has looked increasingly confident throughout the weekend wound up 11th. That puts her second fastest of the rookies, behind the second Team Australia car of Will Power, who continues to impress.
Nelson Philippe, who crashed his CTE Racing-HVM car yesterday is sore after bending the steering column with his knee on impact, but is getting back to form and was an impressive 10th quickest.
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Sebastien Bourdais Newman/Haas 21.127
2. Alex Tagliani Team Australia 21.189 + 0.062
3. AJ Allmendinger RuSPORT 21.266 + 0.139
4. Paul Tracy Forsythe 21.367 + 0.240
5. Bruno Junqueira Newman/Haas 21.372 + 0.245
6. Oriol Servia PKV 21.571 + 0.494
7. Justin Wilson RuSPORT 21.639 + 0.512
8. Mario Dominguez Forsythe 21.694 + 0.567
9. Will Power Team Australia 21.887 + 0.760
10. Nelson Philippe CTE-HVM 21.899 + 0.772
11. Katherine Legge PKV 22.023 + 0.896
12. Andrew Ranger Conquest 22.187 + 1.060
13. Dan Clarke CTE-HVM 22.188 + 1.061
14. Jan Heylen Dale Coyne 22.330 + 1.203
15. Cristiano da Matta Dale Coyne 22.441 + 1.314
16. Charles Zwolsman Conquest 22.542 + 1.415
17. Nicky Pastorelli Rocketsports 23.347 + 2.220