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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