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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