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Bourdais 'On a Different Planet'

Sebastien Bourdais heads into tomorrow's Monterrey Champ Car race brimming with confidence after taking pole position by more than half a second in final qualifying

As a measure of his superiority - and consistency - the Frenchman's second best lap was a mere 0.022s slower and any of his three fastest efforts would have been good enough for pole.

Bourdais attributed his superiority to the "chemistry" he has developed with his Newman/Haas team, as well as a special affinity for the slippery Monterrey track.

"I can't really describe the feeling I get when I drive here - it's like flying on a different planet," he said. "I have a great feeling about this track and this race. The McDonald's car was really good and hopefully we can repeat our win from last year."

Bourdais is under no illusions that the race will be easy, however - if nothing else because ambient temperatures have already reached 40C/104F and are forecast to climb higher still tomorrow.

"It's going to be a really difficult race with the heat," he predicted. "We are only running 10-15 laps in qualifying and we get out of the car and we are drenched. You will need to concentrate 110 percent for two hours in the race and that deploys tons of energy."

Bourdais paid tribute to the work ethic of the Newman/Haas team, who have been kept busy during the six-week hiatus since Long Beach not only with testing but also with their Indianapolis 500 campaign.

"I am especially proud of the Newman/Haas team for having good cars here considering all of the extra work we have had to do in order to compete in the Indy 500," he said. "Hopefully we can earn a strong result tomorrow as a reward for the hard work."

Teammate Bruno Junqueira's mood was somewhat more muted after qualifying fifth. The Brazilian lost crucial track time in the closing stages due to a turbo problem with his Ford-Cosworth engine.

"The PacifiCare car was pretty good but we had a boost problem when we went out for a second run and [that] cut our time short," he reported.

"On the first set of tyres, I was already [on course for] a 1:14s lap but there was a cone in the middle of the last corner and I had to get off-line to avoid it and I lost a second and a half.

"On the second run we had the boost problem and by the time we got back out I only had time for one lap. I was slower on the first two or three corners but made up the time on the rest and moved up four spots.

"A fifth-place start is less than we were capable of, but I'm going to try as hard as I can to move forward tomorrow."

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