Newman/Haas Dominate Qualifying

Newman/Haas Racing's dominance of the 2005 Champ Car World Series continued in qualifying for the Championship's sole superspeedway date, as points' leader Sebastien Bourdais and Oriol Servia locked out the front row for the Hurricane Relief 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Newman/Haas Dominate Qualifying

The times were extremely close for most of the single-car qualifying session, with less than eight tenths of a second covering the field before Servia moved a quarter of a second clear of the chasing pack on his second flying lap. Bourdais, who had led a similar Newman/Haas one-two in practice, squeezed a touch more speed out of his Lola-Ford and beat Servia to pole by 0.007s.

PKV teammates Jimmy Vasser and Cristiano da Matta will start third and fourth after dropping out of their original positions in the qualifying queue, hoping to benefit from more favourable track conditions as the early evening shadows lengthened. The gamble paid off, with Vasser leaving his qualifying run as late as possible and becoming the only man to get within a tenth of a second of the Newman/Haas duo.

The late surge by PKV pushed Bjorn Wirdheim down to fifth, but this was still an excellent result for HVM's rookie. The 2003 Formula 3000 Champion's inaugural Champ Car season has been disappointingly low key so far, but Wirdheim will start his first superspeedway race from a strong position.

His teammate Rodolfo Lavin rebounded from a dire practice session to secure seventh on the grid, the HVM pair split by Forsythe's Mario Dominguez.

Another rookie showing hitherto unseen pace was Marcus Marshall. Team Australia's inexperienced number two broke into the top ten for the first time, and outqualified team leader Alex Tagliani. The high-speed pack racing that Marshall will experience for the first time in tomorrow night's race will be another new challenge, but he was among the top half of the field in both of Friday's sessions.

Paul Tracy (Forsythe Racing) dominated the last Champ Car oval race, running away from the field at Milwaukee in June. A repeat performance at the rather different Las Vegas track seems unlikely, as Tracy will start from way back in 14th on the grid, having struggled for pace in both practice and qualifying.

If Tracy can't peg back Bourdais' increasingly commanding points lead in Las Vegas, his hopes of a second title will be as good as over. With 13 cars separating Champ Car's biggest rivals on the grid, Tracy will have to produce something special in tomorrow's race if he is to keep Bourdais in his sights.

Pos Driver Team Time 1. Sebastien Bourdais Newman Haas 26.381 2. Oriol Servia Newman Haas 26.388 + 0.007 3. Jimmy Vasser PKV 26.477 + 0.096 4. Cristiano da Matta PKV 26.632 + 0.251 5. Bjorn Wirdheim HVM, Inc. 26.635 + 0.254 6. Mario Dominguez Forsythe Championship 26.638 + 0.257 7. Rodolfo Lavin HVM, Inc. 26.732 + 0.351 8. A.J. Allmendinger RuSPORT 26.800 + 0.419 9. Justin Wilson RuSPORT 26.860 + 0.479 10. Marcus Marshall Team Australia 26.974 + 0.593 11. Nelson Philippe Mi-Jack Conquest 26.985 + 0.604 12. Ronnie Bremer Dale Coyne 26.995 + 0.614 13. Alex Tagliani Team Australia 27.026 + 0.645 14. Paul Tracy Forsythe Championship 27.037 + 0.656 15. Timo Glock Rocketsports 27.110 + 0.729 16. Ryan Hunter-Reay Rocketsports 27.175 + 0.794 17. Andrew Ranger Mi-Jack Conquest 27.250 + 0.869 18. Ricardo Sperafico Dale Coyne 27.423 + 1.042 
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