Bourdais on provisional pole

Sebastien Bourdais moved one small step closer to the 2004 Champ Car World Series title by taking provisional pole for the race at Surfers Paradise, in Australia, this weekend. The Frenchman earned an extra point for his efforts and guaranteed himself a slot on the front row for the race

Bourdais on provisional pole

Bourdais, whose only rival for the title is Newman/Haas team-mate Bruno Junqueira, now holds a 28-point advantage over the Brazilian and need only finish 13th to secure the championship should Junqueira fail to finish.

"It is good to be guaranteed a front row start since this is an unpredictable race," said Bourdais, "especially at the start."

Outgoing champion Paul Tracy was second fastest, just over a tenth slower than Bourdais' 1m34.439s best. The Canadian struggled with traffic and, like many of the other drivers, was frustrated by a late-session red flag caused by his Forsythe team-mate Patrick Carpentier hitting the wall.

"When I went out for the second run," explained Tracy, "I got caught behind one of the Dale Coyne Racing cars. They tried to get out of the way but it was too late and I lost time. We made some small changes after that and went back out, and then the red flag came out."

Mario Dominguez was third fastest ahead of Oriol Servia, Jimmy Vasser and Ryan-Hunter-Reay. Michel Jourdain Jr, AJ Allmendinger, Alex Tagliani and Britain's Justin Wilson rounded out the top ten.

Champ Car debutant and home hero David Besnard qualified 13th fastest in the second Walker Racing car, ahead of such names as Junqueira (who suffered a gear sensor failure), Le Mans winner Guy Smith and Carpentier (who had also had gear selection problems).

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