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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Bourdais all but clinches title
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