Bourdais Rules Monterrey Qualifying

Defending Champ Car title-holder Sebastien Bourdais picked up where he left off in the Long Beach season-opener six weeks ago by dominating the first day's activities in Monterrey, Mexico

Bourdais Rules Monterrey Qualifying

The Frenchman showed he will be a formidable opponent for any pretenders to his crown, topping the morning practice session by more than 0.8s before locking out provisional pole position in the afternoon.

As he often does, Bourdais kept his powder dry in the early part of the session and let his rivals carry out track-sweeping duties, before immediately laying down a marker and then moving the target steadily further out of reach.

Eventually teammate Bruno Junqueira pegged his margin back to three tenths of a second and secured second on the overnight grid, testifying to the continued prowess of Newman/Haas Racing. But it is Bourdais who pockets the bonus Championship point and- crucially a guaranteed place on the front row for Sunday's race.

Justin Wilson sprang a surprise in the dying moments of the session, vaulting from the outer fringes of the top 10 to third place in the leading RuSPORT entry. The Briton was the best part of a second adrift of the Newman/Haas pair but comfortably clear of fourth-placed Alex Tagliani, who did an excellent job in the Team Australia (formerly Walker Racing) Lola.

Mexican Mario Dominguez, who thrilled his home crowd with a podium finish in Monterrey last year, had to make do with fifth in Friday qualifying. But that at least put him in the thick of things, whereas Forsythe teammate
Paul Tracy languished at the very back of the pack after completing only a handful of laps early on in the session.

French-Canadian teenager Andrew Ranger was top of the rookie class with an impressive sixth fastest time for Mi-Jack Conquest Racing, just ahead of 2004 Rookie of the Year AJ Allmendinger, who trailed teammate Wilson by half a second.

Timo Glock, nursing some bruising following a heavy testing accident at Milwaukee earlier this month, was the leading Rocketsports Racing representative in eighth. PKV duo and former series Champions Jimmy Vasser and Cristiano da Matta rounded out the top ten.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Sebastien Bourdais Newman Haas 1:14.967 10 2. Bruno Junqueira Newman Haas 1:15.248 + 0.281 10 3. Justin Wilson RuSPORT 1:15.836 + 0.869 8 4. Alex Tagliani Team Australia 1:16.217 + 1.250 10 5. Mario Dominguez Forsythe Championship 1:16.306 + 1.339 13 6. Andrew Ranger Mi-Jack Conquest 1:16.332 + 1.365 10 7. A.J. Allmendinger RuSPORT 1:16.345 + 1.378 7 8. Timo Glock Rocketsports 1:16.454 + 1.487 7 9. Jimmy Vasser PKV 1:16.519 + 1.552 12 10. Cristiano da Matta PKV 1:16.537 + 1.570 11 11. Ronnie Bremer HVM, Inc. 1:16.853 + 1.886 13 12. Oriol Servia Dale Coyne 1:17.481 + 2.514 11 13. Bjorn Wirdheim HVM, Inc. 1:17.671 + 2.704 12 14. Ricardo Sperafico Dale Coyne 1:17.794 + 2.827 15 15. Ryan Hunter-Reay Rocketsports 1:17.864 + 2.897 5 16. Nelson Philippe Mi-Jack Conquest 1:18.067 + 3.100 8 17. Marcus Marshall Team Australia 1:18.421 + 3.454 11 18. Jorge Goeters PKV Team Mexico 1:19.225 + 4.258 11 19. Paul Tracy Forsythe Championship 1:22.302 + 7.335 6 
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