Clarke retains Elkhart Lake pole
|By David Malsher||Saturday, September 23rd 2006, 20:25 GMT|
Dan Clarke has retained his pole position for the Champ Car World Series race at Elkhart Lake, as further rain in Saturday's final qualifying session meant that no one could improve their Friday times.
In a session where lap times were 11 seconds shy of yesterday's efforts, Clarke kept his pole despite completing just an out-lap this afternoon.
Given the Champ Car World Series rule that the fastest driver from each qualifying session gets on the front row, however, second place on the grid was still up for grabs.
Unsurprisingly, the man to make the most of this was reigning champion Sebastien Bourdais, who went out early in the session when the track was at its driest, and strung a lap together in his Newman/Haas Racing entry that was a half second quicker than anyone else.
His closest opponent was Justin Wilson of RuSPORT, while Will Power was also impressive for Team Australia - setting third quickest time of the session.
However, the fact that no one was going to improve meant many drivers didn't risk their machinery, so it was an inconclusive session all round.
It does throw up an interesting grid for tomorrow, though, with Clarke becoming the first rookie to sit on pole since Bourdais in Surfers Paradise in 2003.
Bourdais is unlikely to think too hard about going for points despite the championship being at stake, while behind these two Charles Zwolsman (Conquest Racing) and Alex Tagliani (Team Australia) will be eager to make the most of their best grid positions of the year.
Down in fifth and sixth are AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson - the two men fighting over second in the championship and desperate to stop Bourdais from clinching the title too early.
Combined qualifying times:
Pos Driver Team Time 1. Dan Clarke CTE-HVM 1:55.123 2. Sebastien Bourdais Newman/Haas 1:58.945 + 3.822 3. Charles Zwolsman Conquest 1:55.599 + 0.476 4. Alex Tagliani Team Australia 1:57.517 + 2.394 5. AJ Allmendinger Forsythe 1:58.507 + 3.384 6. Justin Wilson RuSPORT 1:59.076 + 3.953 7. Will Power Team Australia 1:59.286 + 4.163 8. Katherine Legge PKV 1:59.388 + 4.265 9. Andrew Ranger Conquest 1:59.486 + 4.313 10. Bruno Junqueira Newman/Haas 1:59.977 + 4.854 11. Paul Tracy Forsythe 2:00.165 + 5.042 12. Jan Heylen Dale Coyne 2:00.835 + 5.712 13. Oriol Servia PKV 2:01.082 + 5.959 14. Tonis Kasemets Rocketsports 2:01.381 + 6.258 15. Mario Dominguez Rocketsports 2:01.582 + 6.759 16. Nelson Philippe CTE-HVM 2:02.273 + 7.150 17. Juan Caceras Dale Coyne 2:03.690 + 8.567