Bourdais Claims Montreal Pole

Sebastien Bourdais underlined his reputation as Champ Car's qualifying king with his fourth pole position of the season in Montreal today

Bourdais Claims Montreal Pole

After being made to work hard yesterday by Newman/Haas Racing teammate Oriol Servia, Bourdais has been in imperious form today, pacing the morning practice session by six tenths of a second and securing the top grid slot by a comfortable 0.302s.

Servia backed Bourdais up capably in the #2 PacifiCare Lola and ensured a Newman/Haas lock-out of the front row for the second time in three races.

For much of the session Bourdais' stiffest competition came from the RuSPORT team, which has made huge progress after struggling to find a good set-up yesterday.

AJ Allmendinger quickly established himself as a pole contender by clocking a 1:20.954 lap early in this afternoon's session - almost a second quicker than Bourdais' Friday standard.

That held up until shortly after the halfway mark, when the Frenchman uncorked a 1:20.645 and then put pole beyond reach with a stunning 1:20.396.

Servia's final flier promoted him to second ahead of Justin Wilson, who pipped RuSPORT stablemate Allmendinger by a wafer-thin 0.022s.

Paul Tracy was consigned to a bit-part role in today's proceedings and will start fifth in the leading Forsythe Championship Racing entry. The 2003 series Champion will have to pull a rabbit out of the hat tomorrow - or else rely on misfortune striking Bourdais - if he is not to lose any realistic chance of reclaiming his crown.

Local favourite Alex Tagliani, who was denied a fairy-tale victory in Montreal two years ago due to poor fuel consumption, qualified sixth for Team Australia despite a cross-country jaunt at Turn Eight.

Mario Dominguez was next up in the second Forsythe machine, while PKV duo Cristiano da Matta and Jimmy Vasser each slipped three places from yesterday and will line up eighth and ninth respectively.

The improving Nelson Philippe rounded out the top ten for Eric Bachelart's Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team, four places ahead of the sister car of Andrew Ranger.

Ranger is showing no ill effects from yesterday's big crash but had another, more minor, 'off' during practice this morning and struggled to make up for the lack of track time in the pressure cooker atmosphere of qualifying.

Timo Glock was again the cream of the rookie crop with the 11th fastest time in the top Rocketsports entry.

Pos  Driver              Team                   Time
 1.  Sebastien Bourdais  Newman Haas            1:20.396
 2.  Oriol Servia        Newman Haas            1:20.698 + 0.302
 3.  Justin Wilson       RuSPORT                1:20.932 + 0.536
 4.  A.J. Allmendinger   RuSPORT                1:20.954 + 0.558
 5.  Paul Tracy          Forsythe Championship  1:21.009 + 0.613
 6.  Alex Tagliani       Team Australia         1:21.160 + 0.764
 7.  Mario Dominguez     Forsythe Championship  1:21.600 + 1.204
 8.  Cristiano da Matta  PKV                    1:21.623 + 1.227
 9.  Jimmy Vasser        PKV                    1:21.794 + 1.398
10.  Nelson Philippe     Mi-Jack Conquest       1:21.893 + 1.497
11.  Timo Glock          Rocketsports           1:22.066 + 1.670
12.  Rodolfo Lavin       HVM, Inc.              1:22.262 + 1.866
13.  Ryan Hunter-Reay    Rocketsports           1:22.285 + 1.889
14.  Andrew Ranger       Mi-Jack Conquest       1:22.315 + 1.919
15.  Bjorn Wirdheim      HVM, Inc.              1:22.651 + 2.255
16.  Ricardo Sperafico   Dale Coyne             1:22.917 + 2.521
17.  Ronnie Bremer       Dale Coyne             1:23.214 + 2.818
18.  Marcus Marshall     Team Australia         1:23.266 + 2.870
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