Bourdais Cruises to Pole

Reigning series Champion Sebastien Bourdais cemented his reputation as Champ Car's ace qualifier with an imperious performance in Monterrey, Mexico, on Saturday

Bourdais Cruises to Pole

Secure in the knowledge that he had a guaranteed front row start on the basis of his Friday effort, the Frenchman didn't bother to show his colours until the closing stages - whereupon he promptly decimated the opposition with a time 0.577s faster than his nearest challenger and three-tenths inside his own track record from last year.

Bourdais has now taken pole in all three of his starts at the twisty, low-grip Fundidora Park circuit and shapes up as the hot favourite heading into tomorrow's race.

He will be joined on the front row by Briton Justin Wilson, who is clearly revelling in his new environment at RuSPORT after spending his debut season with the more modestly funded Conquest Racing outfit.

Wilson's rivalry with highly-rated American teammate AJ Allmendinger promises to be one of the most interesting aspects of the 2005 season; so far the former Formula One driver has comfortably held the upper hand.

Paul Tracy bounced back strongly from a torrid opening qualifying session yesterday, in which he damaged his Indeck Lola after attacking the kerbs with a little too much gusto, by claiming third on the grid for Forsythe Championship Racing.

But the Canadian's tactics in the waning moments of today's session prompted some raised eyebrows in the paddock. After finding several of his own flying laps stymied by traffic, Tracy aborted his final run and proceeded to drive around slowly while dropping wheels off onto the grass and dragging dust back onto the track surface. It remains to be seen whether the officials will take any disciplinary action.

Alex Tagliani continued to impress in his new gig with Team Australia (nee Walker Racing), posting the fourth fastest time for the second day running. Not bad considering the Quebecois didn't finalise his contract until a fortnight before the start of the season - and the team is still learning the habits of the Lola B0/01 chassis having campaigned Reynards for many years.

Bruno Junqueira slipped from second on the Friday grid to fifth after sitting out much of the closing part of the session while the team investigated an apparent mechanical problem with his Newman/Haas Racing Lola.

Mario Dominguez has been there or thereabouts so far this weekend but had to content himself with sixth on the grid in front of the partisan Mexican fans.

Oriol Servia reproduced some of his giant-killing form from last year by qualifying seventh for the underfinanced Dale Coyne Racing team, just ahead of the experienced PKV pairing of Jimmy Vasser and Cristiano da Matta.

Ronnie Bremer won the rookie bragging rights by squeezing into the top 10 in the leading HVM entry, once again showing the way to former Jaguar F1 driver Bjorn Wirdheim.

Final Qualifying Results:

Pos  Driver              Driver                 Time
 1.  Sebastien Bourdais  Newman Haas            1:13.627
 2.  Justin Wilson       RuSPORT                1:14.204 + 0.577
 3.  Paul Tracy          Forsythe Championship  1:14.321 + 0.694
 4.  Alex Tagliani       Team Australia         1:14.342 + 0.715
 5.  Bruno Junqueira     Newman Haas            1:14.649 + 1.022
 6.  Mario Dominguez     Forsythe Championship  1:14.817 + 1.190
 7.  Oriol Servia        Dale Coyne             1:14.922 + 1.295
 8.  Jimmy Vasser        PKV                    1:15.032 + 1.405
 9.  Cristiano da Matta  PKV                    1:15.118 + 1.491
10.  Ronnie Bremer       HVM, Inc.              1:15.258 + 1.631
11.  A.J. Allmendinger   RuSPORT                1:15.261 + 1.634
12.  Timo Glock          Rocketsports           1:15.288 + 1.661
13.  Nelson Philippe     Mi-Jack Conquest       1:15.487 + 1.860
14.  Andrew Ranger       Mi-Jack Conquest       1:15.610 + 1.983
15.  Bjorn Wirdheim      HVM, Inc.              1:15.692 + 2.065
16.  Ricardo Sperafico   Dale Coyne             1:16.140 + 2.513
17.  Ryan Hunter-Reay    Rocketsports           1:16.252 + 2.625
18.  Jorge Goeters       PKV Team Mexico        1:16.412 + 2.785
19.  Marcus Marshall     Team Australia         1:17.842 + 4.215
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