Bourdais Shrugs Off Shunt

Sebastien Bourdais beat Paul Tracy to pole position in Toronto despite crashing his Newman/Haas Lola halfway through the 15-minute warm-up session immediately prior to qualifying last night

Bourdais Shrugs Off Shunt

The team had to fix minor left rear corner damage in the 10 minutes of 'down time' between the warm-up and qualifying proper after Bourdais struck the wall in turn six.

"I wasn't expecting the car to push [understeer] like that," explained the Frenchman. "On my second lap, at turn six, the front end just washed out. I really got surprised. By the time you realise what is happening, you're already brushing the wall.

"The contact was really, really small. I was actually very surprised to see that the (wheel) rim was apart and the tyre was already gone. I just tried to coast it back to the pits really slowly, probably 30mph, so they could get it fixed."

Although the Newman/Haas crew replaced the buckled wheel and repaired a broken brake duct, Bourdais reckoned that the car still wasn't quite right when he returned to the track to take pole just half an hour later.

"I'm pretty sure the cross weight wasn't right and the steering wheel wasn't straight," he said. "We had something else that was bent. It's never a good thing.

"Obviously it didn't seem to affect the handling of the car too much."

Bourdais was full of praise for his mechanics' rapid efforts: "The crew did an awesome job to put the thing together. We pulled it off."

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