Bourdais Pips Tracy for Pole

Sebastien Bourdais snatched pole position from arch-rival Paul Tracy in final qualifying for the Toronto Champ Car race - despite crashing in the brief warm-up held immediately before the session

Bourdais Pips Tracy for Pole

Having been fastest in practice this morning, Bourdais was determined to get the better of Tracy in the crucial afternoon session, but he tagged the wall and damaged a wheel halfway through the warm-up.

While the Newman/Haas team hurriedly repaired the damage to the Frenchman's McDonald's Lola, Tracy was reigning supreme on track, carving three tenths of a second from his Friday mark and heading the field by half a second at the session's halfway point.

Fellow local hero Alex Tagliani (Team Australia) briefly made it an all-Canadian front row, before Bourdais emerged from the pits and grabbed the glory with a 58.552 lap.

With the Friday polesitter guaranteed a front row start under Champ Car's rules, Tracy retains second on the grid even though Britain's Justin Wilson was second fastest in Saturday's session.

The RuSPORT driver, still chasing his first Champ Car win, was just two-thousandths of a second slower than Bourdais, and improved on his Friday time by a full second.

"After yesterday, we'll take that!" said Wilson, who was only seventh on the provisional grid. "It's a vast improvement. A big thanks to the guys for giving me a car that's capable of doing that.

"I just want to have a good, clean race and try to keep the pressure on those two. Sebastien and Paul are the class of the field at the moment, and if we want to have any chance of winning races, we've got to keep pushing them."

Bourdais' teammate Oriol Servia will join Wilson on row two. Newman/Haas Racing's latest 'supersub' was hampered by an undetected slow puncture on Friday, but showed his true pace today, improving by 1.3s.

Tagliani slipped from third to fifth on the final grid, ahead of Mario Dominguez (Forsythe) and PKV teammates Jimmy Vasser and Cristiano da Matta. The Brazilian was the only driver not to improve on his Friday time, and fell from fourth to eighth as a consequence.

AJ Allmendinger missed the warm-up and the first few minutes of qualifying after an engine problem became apparent in morning practice. He was ninth overall and 0.862s slower than teammate Wilson.

Big gains by Conquest Racing's Nelson Philippe and Andrew Ranger saw the teenage duo move up to 10th and 11th, with Ranger the top rookie qualifier in his first Champ Car race on home soil.

Series newcomer Ryan Dalziel had hoped to break into the top 10 in his first drive for Dale Coyne Racing, but had to settle for 16th on the grid, just ahead of the troubled Ryan Hunter-Reay.

At least Hunter-Reay's Rocketsports teammate Timo Glock had a slight cause for optimism, as he shook off the problems that had plagued his weekend so far and moved up from last to 14th.

Champ Car returnee Alex Sperafico brought the session to an early end by crashing and causing a red flag stoppage with just two minutes to go. The Brazilian, who replaced the cash-strapped Ronnie Bremer at HVM, looked promising in practice but ended the session only 15th fastest and 0.5s behind teammate Bjorn Wirdheim.

With the top 12 cars in today's session covered by just 1.1s, tomorrow's race ought to be a frenetic affair. So far this weekend has been an action replay of last season, when Bourdais also overcame Friday polesitter Tracy in the final session. Bourdais then went on to win the race, while Tracy got involved in a few scrapes and dropped to fifth, not a result that he will wish to repeat on Sunday.

With Champ Car's fiercest rivals side-by-side on the front row and their title fight at a delicate stage, tomorrow's race could be the best of the season so far.

Molson Indy Toronto - Combined Qualifying Result:

Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Sebastien Bourdais Newman Haas 58.552 22 2. Paul Tracy Forsythe Championship 58.594 + 0.042 29 3. Justin Wilson RuSPORT 58.554 + 0.002 27 4. Oriol Servia Newman Haas 58.795 + 0.243 20 5. Alex Tagliani Team Australia 58.821 + 0.269 24 6. Mario Dominguez Forsythe Championship 59.089 + 0.537 30 7. Jimmy Vasser PKV 59.256 + 0.704 24 8. Cristiano da Matta PKV 59.372 + 0.820 27 9. A.J. Allmendinger RuSPORT 59.416 + 0.864 28 10. Nelson Philippe Mi-Jack Conquest 59.448 + 0.896 22 11. Andrew Ranger Mi-Jack Conquest 59.486 + 0.934 24 12. Bjorn Wirdheim HVM, Inc. 59.705 + 1.153 30 13. Ricardo Sperafico Dale Coyne 59.961 + 1.409 30 14. Timo Glock Rocketsports 1:00.189 + 1.637 19 15. Alex Sperafico HVM, Inc. 1:00.336 + 1.784 26 16. Ryan Dalziel Dale Coyne 1:00.436 + 1.884 28 17. Ryan Hunter-Reay Rocketsports 1:00.591 + 2.039 29 18. Marcus Marshall Team Australia 1:00.613 + 2.061 30 All Timing Unofficial 

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