Day 1: Rookie Bourdais sets the pace

Newman/Haas rookie Sebastien Bourdais again demonstrated that he will be an immediate threat in Champ Cars by pacing Tuesday's testing Spring Training action at Sebring International Raceway. But the 23-year-old Frenchman again blotted his copybook with a minor crash

Day 1: Rookie Bourdais sets the pace

Running in the afternoon group, Bourdais' 50.953second (117.920mph) lap was almost 0.5sec faster than his more experienced team-mate Bruno Junqueira managed in the morning. Bourdais ran a chart-topping total of 78 laps Tuesday before he slid off-course into a tyre barrier at Turn 5 with just one lap remaining in the session.

"As the temperature went down, the grip level also went down," said Bourdais. "I was trying to heat the tyres, but it never came. I pushed, pushed, and pushed a bit more and finally I lost the rear on entry." Damage to the Lola-Ford was light.

Junqueira wound up third fastest overall behind Team Rahal's Michel Jourdain Jnr, who also ran in the afternoon. Jourdain managed a 51.407sec lap, while Junqueira was a 10th behind at 51.507. Paul Tracy (51.784sec) was fourth, besting Oriol Servia, Adrian Fernandez and Mario Dominguez.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was second fastest behind Bourdais of the eight rookies. Hunter-Reay's lap of 52.474sec in Stefan Johansson's Reynard-Ford was good for eleventh overall, two places and 0.2 sec behind his team leader, Jimmy Vasser.

CART's new spec Cosworth XFE engine continued to draw praise from drivers and teams. Despite running around 4,000 fewer revs, the additional turbo boost of the 2003 unit is producing similar lap times to last year's less regulated engines.

Sebastien Bourdais Newman-Haas 50.953s
Michel Jourdain Team Rahal 51.407s
Bruno Junqueira Newman-Haas 51.507s
Paul Tracy Forsythe Racing 51.784s
Oriol Servia Patrick Racing 52.079s
Adrian Fernandez Fernandez Racing 51.970s
Mario Dominguez Herdez Competition 52.186s
Jimmy Vasser American Spirit Team Johansson 52.223s
Roberto Moreno Herdez Competition 52.234s
Alex Tagliani Rocketsports 52.274s
Ryan Hunter-Reay American Spirit Team Johansson 52.474s
Mario Haberfeld Conquest 52.501s
Patrick Carpentier Forsythe Racing 52.526s
Darren Manning Walker Racing 52.793s
Joel Camathias Dale Coyne Racing 53.568s
Rudolfo Lavin Walker Racing 53.801s
Roberto Gonzalez Dale Coyne Racing 54.408s
Patrick Lemarie PK Racing 55.080s

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