Preview: Tracy on a roll

Paul Tracy became the first Canadian to win the Molson Indy Vancouver in 2000 and, after an impressive 'lights-to-flag' victory in Toronto two weeks ago, there's little reason to doubt he'll be up there dicing for the win this weekend. But the Player's Forsythe Racing star will face some stiff competition from the Newman/Haas and Team Rahal entries, not to mention his own team-mate, the highly experienced Patrick Carpentier

Preview: Tracy on a roll

Newman/Haas' Bruno Junquiera is still chasing his maiden win and it can't be far off, the way the Brazilian is driving. He hasn't finished lower than fourth in the last four races and it's points that win prizes at the end of the day. Once he gets the better of Tracy it will be even harder to stop him in future and with just 15 points between them at the halfway stage, the championship is anything but in the bag.

The solo Team Rahal entry has been plugging away at the points game all season to keep Tracy's team-mate behind in the standings. After a second place in Toronto, a seventh in Cleveland, a fourth in Monterey and his win in Milwaukee, Michel Jourdain Jr is now 25 points ahead of Carpentier. But with only two points between Carpentier and Junquiera's team-mate Sebastien Bourdais, the Canadian will have to up his game immediately if he is to hang onto fourth overall.

It could be said that Bourdais has let his inexperience show, from time to time, but a double victory in Europe and another win in Cleveland have definitely proved him a force to be reckoned with this season.

Champ Cars' second placed rookie, Briton Darren Manning, has notched up three solid top ten results in his last three outings, enough to bump him up to 10th overall. Manning is 89 points off the series leader, and 36 off fellow rookie Bourdais, but a strong second half of the season could just see him finishing ahead of stalwarts Roberto Moreno, Jimmy Vasser and Alex Tagliani, who has just one point more than the Brit.

Tagliani had a good run last year around the temporary 1.8-mile street course - finishing seventh behind Mario Andretti. Dario Franchitti won the race but of the current crop of drivers only Tracy, Jourdain and Carpentier finished ahead of Tagliani, so the others would do well to beat any of the quartet this weekend.

On the other hand, Tagliani was Carpentier's team-mate last year at Player's Forsythe Racing, so the 2002 form book is a little confusing where drivers are concerned. But looking at last year's results from a 2003 team perspective the countback goes Rahal, Forsythe then Fernandez Racing.

Vancouver was painful for Adrian Fernandez last year, despite his encouraging classification. His car was T-boned by Junqueira near the end of the race, after a spin on cold tyres, and he was airlifted to hospital with an injured pelvis.

A regular points scorer in 2003, however, Fernandez cannot be discounted this weekend. A win at Portland, second at Long Beach, fourth at the Monterrey Grand Prix and sixth at Milwaukee all show he has the car under him.

Finally, Mario Dominguez has struggled to recapture the form that netted him two podiums in Europe. But his fifth in Cleveland shows that he is still hunting with the pack for the Mexican Herdez Racing team, along with his more experienced team-mate Roberto Moreno, who came sixth in Toronto. Nonetheless the Herdez drivers must be ranked as outsiders this weekend.

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Qual 1: Tracy on provisional pole

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