Bourdais on provisional pole

Sebastien Bourdais virtually assured himself of a second consecutive Champ Car World Series crown by taking the overnight pole at Surfers Paradise on Friday

Bourdais on provisional pole

The Frenchman pulled out all the stops to snatch the top spot in the dying moments on a damp but drying track, moving him to within a single point of title glory; merely by starting Sunday's race he will erase Newman/Haas Racing teammate Oriol Servia's remaining mathematical chance.

The showers that hit the Gold Coast track during practice this morning moved offshore in time for qualifying, and the wet surface gradually dried out as the session went on.

Timing was everything, and as usual Bourdais outfoxed and then simply outpaced his rivals to book himself a place on the front row for race day.

His late flyer put him three tenths of a second clear of Alex Tagliani, who rose to the occasion superbly on Team Australia's home turf.

Paul Tracy was at the top of the timing charts during the middle part of the session but brushed the wall and slipped to an eventual third in the leading Forsythe Championship Racing entry.

Teenager Nelson Philippe sprang a surprise with the fourth fastest time for Mi-Jack Conquest Racing, putting the second Newman/Haas Lola of Oriol Servia in the shade. The Spaniard's target this weekend is to consolidate his cushion over Tracy in the points standings and ensure a NHR 1-2 for the second straight year.

Cristiano da Matta was sixth quickest for PKV, two places ahead of teammate Jimmy Vasser. Sandwiching the pair of veterans was Brazilian rookie Ricardo Sperafico, once again punching above his weight in the underfinanced Dale Coyne Racing entry.

Stablemate Ronnie Bremer would have finished much higher than 15th but was one of several drivers to switch to slick tyres slightly too early on a track that was still lacking in grip. Rookie points leader Timo Glock was another, and paid the price by going off and causing a red-flag stoppage.

Mario Dominguez wound up ninth fastest ahead of local favourite Marcus Marshall (a creditable effort for Team Australia) and morning pacesetter AJ Allmendinger.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Sebastien Bourdais Newman Haas 1:45.739 12 2. Alex Tagliani Team Australia 1:46.010 + 0.271 11 3. Paul Tracy Forsythe Championship 1:46.920 + 1.181 12 4. Nelson Philippe Mi-Jack Conquest 1:47.321 + 1.582 7 5. Oriol Servia Newman Haas 1:47.872 + 2.133 7 6. Cristiano da Matta PKV 1:48.346 + 2.607 12 7. Ricardo Sperafico Dale Coyne 1:48.355 + 2.616 8 8. Jimmy Vasser PKV 1:48.792 + 3.053 10 9. Mario Dominguez Forsythe Championship 1:48.865 + 3.126 11 10. Marcus Marshall Team Australia 1:49.142 + 3.403 11 11. A.J. Allmendinger RuSPORT 1:49.257 + 3.518 7 12. Rodolfo Lavin HVM, Inc. 1:49.623 + 3.884 11 13. Michael McDowell Rocketsports 1:49.870 + 4.131 12 14. Justin Wilson RuSPORT 1:49.922 + 4.183 8 15. Ronnie Bremer Dale Coyne 1:50.006 + 4.267 9 16. Fabrizio del Monte HVM, Inc. 1:50.702 + 4.963 13 17. Will Power Team Australia 1:50.777 + 5.038 10 18. Andrew Ranger Mi-Jack Conquest 1:51.337 + 5.598 8 19. Timo Glock Rocketsports 1:51.479 + 5.740 15 
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