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Bourdais Struggles in Milwaukee

Sebastien Bourdais has admitted that he and the Newman/Haas engineers are struggling to find a consistent balance on his McDonald's Lola and has set himself an uncharacteristic, damage-limitation goal of a top-five finish in Sunday's race

Milwaukee hasn't been a happy hunting ground for the Frenchman, who was uncompetitive there during his rookie season (2003) and crashed in both pre-race testing and the race itself last year.

Things haven't gone much better so far this year, with Bourdais not considering sixth on the grid at all satisfactory, especially in view of his car's idiosyncratic handling.

"We are struggling in Milwaukee again," he rued. "It's tough to improve on this track when you only race on a one-mile oval once a season and each time I have raced here the conditions are different.

"The first baseline set-up we ran today was OK but everything we tried after that did not improve the car. Then we had to work on the race set-up and never had time to get back to the qualifying set-up before the session was over.

"The car was loose and neutral in Turns One and Two and was pushing and loose in Turns Three and Four. I have never had that before and we don't understand why it is that way. We will work on improving the car overnight and try to get a top-five finish from the race."

Bourdais' new teammate Oriol Servia, who is standing in for the injured Bruno Junqueira this weekend, was disappointed not to qualify better than ninth. But the Spaniard is enjoying his first acquaintance with a top Champ Car team and, in contrast to Bourdais, has a good record at Milwaukee, having finished a career-high second at the Mile in 2003.

"Our qualifying performance wasn't as good as I had hoped but we are working in the right direction," Servia said. "We are lacking front grip but the PacifiCare car feels solid, which is good for the race - just not in qualifying.

"This is a great opportunity for me to work with Newman/Haas Racing. They are the most successful team in the series and it has been good to work with them so far."

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