Qual 2: Bourdais rules

Sebastien Bourdais continued his domination of the Denver Champ Car meeting by sealing his fifth pole of the season on Saturday. The Frenchman paced the morning practice session and then blitzed the field in qualifying to pad his championship lead by another point

Qual 2: Bourdais rules

After posting a series of new track records Bourdais dipped beneath the magic one-minute mark with 10 minutes remaining. As a measure of his supremacy, the best his rivals could muster around the short, bumpy downtown track was 1m00.525s.

"The McDonald's car has been great since it was unloaded from the truck," enthused Bourdais. "The baseline set-up of the car has been good; we only really changed the wing angle so it has been a much easier weekend in Denver this year. I think I put my best lap of the weekend together at the right moment. Yesterday's lap would have been good enough to keep pole, but it's good for the team to win the pole by beating our own time."

Bruno Junqueira vaulted from fifth on the provisional grid to annex the outside front row starting berth and ensure a Newman/Haas 1-2. But having won at Denver each of the past two years the Brazilian was a little chastened to be so comprehensively outpaced by Bourdais. In his efforts to make good the deficit, Junqueira spun and bent his rear wing during his first qualifying run, but the damage was minor and he made it back out in time for a final foray on new tyres - to no avail.

"I have been struggling this weekend," he admitted. "Bridgestone brought a softer tyre here and it is faster, but the set-up from last year is not working for us this year so we have been making changes. I was able to put a reasonable lap together but I hope we can keep improving the car for the race."

Continuing the team formation at the front of the grid, Paul Tracy will share the second row with Forsythe colleague Patrick Carpentier. In contrast to Bourdais' yawning 0.6s advantage, positions two through four were blanketed by a scant 0.07s.

"We gave it all we had, and the fast lap that Sebastien put up we really had no chance of beating," acknowledged Tracy. "We really struggled for grip on the car; we just can't get the tyres to grip to this track. Newman/Haas have definitely found mechanical grip for their cars, but we plan to try a different set-up tomorrow and keep working at it."

Mario Dominguez will line up fifth on the strength of his Friday time, after his Herdez Competition Lola suffered a massive turbo failure in the 15-minute warm-up prior to final qualifying. The Mexican, who raised a few eyebrows with a combative drive at Denver last year in which he either overtook or ran into most of the field, has been near the top of the timesheets all weekend and was mortified not to be able to contend for pole.

Oriol Servia put up another impressive effort to land sixth on the grid for the underfinanced Dale Coyne Racing outfit. The Spaniard finished fourth at Cleveland in June and looked set for a similar result at Road America before the intervention of full-course yellows during the refuelling window turned the leaderboard on its head.

AJ Allmendinger rebounded from his Friday faux pas - when he ended up in the tyre barrier before completing a single flying lap - to qualify seventh for the RuSPORT team's home race. But the American was disappointed not to finish higher after setting the fifth best time in morning practice, finding that his car developed unwelcome understeer on new tyres.

Understeer on street and road courses has been the bugbear all season for countryman Ryan Hunter-Reay, who had to settle for eighth on the grid in Colorado. Justin Wilson, who is locked in a tight battle with Allmendinger for Rookie of the Year honours, was reasonably satisfied to qualify ninth for Conquest Racing.

"I am happy with my last lap of the session," said the Briton. "I decided to let it all hang out, and managed to stay away from the walls. We are struggling to find the right set-up on our Lola chassis, but hopefully we will be able to make some positive adjustments before the race and achieve a good result."

Champ Car's newest winner Alex Tagliani rounded out the top 10 for Rocketsports, while Friday star Mario Haberfeld plummeted from fourth on the overnight grid to 11th in Walker Racing's Reynard. Guy Smith continues to face a steep learning curve, having never driven a Champ Car in a street circuit environment before, and qualified a circumspect 16th.

shares
comments
Qual 1: Bourdais on top

Previous article

Qual 1: Bourdais on top

Next article

Bourdais spins and wins

Bourdais spins and wins
Load comments
The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under Plus

The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under

Joey Mawson made waves in the middle of the last decade, beating future Haas Formula 1 driver Mick Schumacher - among other highly-rated talents - to the 2016 German F4 title. A run in F1's feeder GP3 category only caused his career to stall, but now back in Australia Mawson's S5000 title success has set that to rights

General
May 8, 2021
The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing Plus

The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing

OPINION: The greed-driven push for a European Super League that threatened to tear football apart is collapsing at the seams. Motor racing's equivalent, the football-themed Superleague Formula series of 2008-11, was everything that the proposed ESL never could be

General
Apr 21, 2021
The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan Plus

The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan

Having had the door to F1 slammed in his face and come within three laps of winning the Indianapolis 500, the collapse of a Peugeot LMP1 shot meant Japan was Bertrand Baguette's last chance of a career. But it's one which he has grasped with both hands

General
Feb 27, 2021
The female all-rounder who arrived "too early" Plus

The female all-rounder who arrived "too early"

From Formula 3 to truck racing, Dakar and EuroNASCAR via a winning stint in the DTM, there's not much Ellen Lohr hasn't seen in a stellar racing career that highlights the merit in being a generalist. But she believes her career came too early...

General
Feb 17, 2021
How Radical's latest machines fare on track Plus

How Radical's latest machines fare on track

The lightweight sportscar manufacturer has not rewritten the rulebook with its latest machines, but the new SR3 XX and SR10 still provide a step forward on its previous successful models

General
Feb 8, 2021
The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction Plus

The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction

The forthcoming Netflix film linking the world of underworld crime and motorsport plays on a theme that isn't exactly new. Over the years, several shady figures have attempted to make it in racing before their dubious dealings caught up with them

General
Jan 31, 2021
How a GP is thriving in a COVID-free territory Plus

How a GP is thriving in a COVID-free territory

The New Zealand Grand Prix's mix of rising talent and big-name stars thrilled the crowds (yes, remember crowds?) assembled for the Toyota Racing Series meeting at Hampton Downs last weekend and left distant observers craving a repeat

General
Jan 26, 2021
How a much-changed Macau GP kept the party going Plus

How a much-changed Macau GP kept the party going

OPINION: The 67th edition of the Macau Grand Prix might have been a largely muted affair to the outside world without its international influx and star line-ups, another victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organisers deserve huge credit for keeping the party going

General
Nov 24, 2020