Qualifying 1: Jourdain beats the Reynards

Team Rahal's Michel Jourdain earned the provisional Champ Car pole at Portland International Raceway in his Lola-Ford, but the talking point after the rain-interrupted qualifying session was the performance of Stefan Johansson's Reynards.

Qualifying 1: Jourdain beats the Reynards

Rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay and veteran teammate Jimmy Vasser ran second and third, just a few hundredths behind the championship-leading Mexican.

Darren Manning was the first driver to break the 60-second barrier this weekend, but the Yorkshireman's effort didn't hold up for long before Paul Tracy and Alex Tagliani beat his time.

Tracy's 59.730s lap was the benchmark as the first yellow flag of the session flew, when Patrick Carpentier nudged Mario Haberfeld's car off-course at the fast chicane near the end of the lap. Haberfeld was driving slowly on the racing line and the fast approaching Carpentier had nowhere to go.

When the action resumed, Jourdain jumped to the top of the screens with a 59.457s lap. But less than two minutes later Vasser took over with 59.433s. Next time round, Jourdain regained the top with a 59.397s effort, a lap that was still top when rain started falling with five minutes left in the session.

Hunter-Reay pipped his teammate by a thousandth of a second with 59.432s, but when Tagliani spun off into a gravel trap with three minutes remaining, the red and chequered flags appeared simultaneously.

Oriol Servia was fourth in the session, followed by Adrian Fernandez, Manning, Bruno Junqueira and Tracy.

The championship point Jourdain received for winning the provisional pole gives expands his series lead to seven points over Junqueira.

"The car was very good when we tested here in April and we learned more about this tyre last weekend at Laguna Seca," Jourdain reported. "This gives me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow knowing we have a front row start for sure."

Friday was the best day of Hunter-Reay's brief Champ Car career, but the 23-year old felt he could have done even better had he not been baulked by Tracy.

"I was two-tenths quicker when Tracy decided to screw it up," Hunter-Reay said. "He just parked himself in the middle of the track and my lap was ruined, but that's racing."

"Ryan did a great job here today, but PT was up to his usual tricks and that kind of sucks," Vasser added. "Tagliani got a taste of Tracy's medicine as well. But we timed things pretty well by running early, before it rained, and it was a great day for the team."

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