Allmendinger on Provisional Pole

AJ Allmendinger claimed provisional pole for the inaugural Grand Prix of Edmonton on Friday, heading Justin Wilson in a RuSPORT 1-2

Allmendinger on Provisional Pole

The Colorado-based squad arrived in northwest Canada on a high after Wilson scored his and the team's maiden Champ Car victory in Toronto last Sunday, and were quick from the outset of morning practice, setting the third and fourth fastest times.

In qualifying they were in a different league to the competition and fought a private battle for the overnight pole, which confers a bonus Championship point and a guaranteed front-row starting spot.

Wilson held sway for most of the session, while Allmendinger snagged the wall and limped back to the pits with a flat tyre after 15 minutes.

But the Brit used up his full allotment of 15 laps with seven minutes left on the clock, leaving him powerless to respond when Allmendinger upped the ante in the waning moments.

The Californian wound himself up for an all-or-nothing final flyer and duly found a huge chunk of time, improving on his previous best by two-thirds of a second and eclipsing Wilson by 0.326s.

The rest, relatively speaking, were nowhere. Paul Tracy led the pursuit for Forsythe Championship Racing, some 0.869s adrift of Allmendinger. The Canadian's afternoon began inauspiciously when he crashed in the short pre-qualifying warm-up period, but some set-up changes and a well-timed final run propelled him up the charts in the closing stages.

Oriol Servia posted the fourth quickest time in the leading Newman/Haas entry. The Spaniard declared himself reasonably happy with his car's handling but admitted he may have left a few crumbs on the table in qualifying. "The session was good - apart from the fact that AJ was a second ahead of us..." he crisply observed.

Teammate Sebastien Bourdais had a nightmare session, hitting the wall at Turn Seven with nine minutes remaining. The impact badly damaged the left-front corner of the #1 McDonald's Lola and Bourdais was shuffled down the timing charts to an eventual tenth place.

Cristiano da Matta (PKV Racing) was slightly disappointed to end up fifth after setting the second quickest time in morning practice, while Team Australia's Alex Tagliani had a spectacular spin at Turn Nine en route to the sixth fastest time.

Jimmy Vasser was seventh in the second PKV machine ahead of Mario Dominguez, who was involved in a morning practice shunt with Andrew Ranger that did extensive damage to both cars. Timo Glock gave some encouragement to the beleaguered Rocketsports team by leading the rookie contingent in ninth.

Pos  Driver              Team                   Time              Laps
 1.  A.J. Allmendinger   RuSPORT                  58.628           12
 2.  Justin Wilson       RuSPORT                  58.954 + 0.326   15
 3.  Paul Tracy          Forsythe Championship    59.497 + 0.869   15
 4.  Oriol Servia        Newman Haas              59.592 + 0.964   15
 5.  Cristiano da Matta  PKV                      59.769 + 1.141   15
 6.  Alex Tagliani       Team Australia           59.782 + 1.154   13
 7.  Jimmy Vasser        PKV                      59.873 + 1.245   15
 8.  Mario Dominguez     Forsythe Championship    59.990 + 1.362   15
 9.  Timo Glock          Rocketsports           1:00.121 + 1.493   15
10.  Sebastien Bourdais  Newman Haas            1:00.462 + 1.834   12
11.  Bjorn Wirdheim      HVM, Inc.              1:00.569 + 1.941   15
12.  Nelson Philippe     Mi-Jack Conquest       1:00.777 + 2.149   13
13.  Ricardo Sperafico   Dale Coyne             1:00.884 + 2.256   15
14.  Ryan Hunter-Reay    Rocketsports           1:00.916 + 2.288   15
15.  Andrew Ranger       Mi-Jack Conquest       1:01.271 + 2.643   15
16.  Ronnie Bremer       Dale Coyne             1:01.349 + 2.721   15
17.  Alex Sperafico      HVM, Inc.              1:01.984 + 3.356   15
18.  Marcus Marshall     Team Australia         1:03.811 + 5.183    4
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