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Morale Boost for Allmendinger

AJ Allmendinger won the latest bout in his intensifying rivalry with teammate Justin Wilson at Edmonton on Friday, snatching provisional pole from the Englishman's grasp in the dying moments of qualifying

Last weekend in Toronto Allmendinger had to watch Wilson score the maiden Champ Car victory for RuSPORT, the team with which he graduated to the series last year following a triumphant Toyota Atlantic campaign in 2003.

The win, coupled with an unforced error from Allmendinger in the closing stages that cost him at least third place, enabled Wilson to move back ahead in the points standings.

Allmendinger, who is his own harshest critic, was chastened both by his mistake and by the fact that Wilson has often had the measure of him this year.

So laying down a marker in first qualifying at Edmonton was an important psychological boost - and it took a Herculean effort on his final flying lap to achieve it.

"I just kind of closed my eyes and hung on for a lap, and luckily got the pole," related Allmendinger, who recovered from a wall-banging incident earlier in the session that left him with a flat tyre.

"I mean, I wasn't really sure I could beat Justin. To be honest, I didn't think I had a chance because the lap before I was on a pretty good lap and I made a mistake. But I was only a couple of tenths (of a second) up on my best lap at that point, which was still going to be two tenths behind Justin.

"You know, with this track being so fast, (if) you just hit everything right, it doesn't feel much faster but the time shows it because one or two miles per hour through a corner quicker than you have been doing is a lot of time here.

"Once I went through about Turn Six or Seven, I saw that I was about four tenths up on my best lap, which was going to put me dead even with Justin. I knew I had to just try to add a little bit everywhere, and fortunately it worked out."

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