Qualifying 1: Junqueira takes pole

Bruno Junqueira dominated Champ Car qualifying Friday in Miami in another session plagued by controversy. The Brazilian cut Paul Tracy's CART championship lead to 17 points by lapping the revised street course in 45.024-seconds, 0.662s faster than Mika Salo and 0.746s faster than Sebastien Bourdais.

Qualifying 1: Junqueira takes pole

"Nobody had run on the track in the dry, so nobody knew what to expect," Junqueira said. "I crashed this morning when I hit the big bump in the last corner. I wasn't expecting to get the pole - maybe the top five. I really pushed hard, especially on the last lap. The team did a really good job, not only to fix the car from the morning but to prepare a good set-up. Even after three laps the tyres weren't up to temperature. But I had a good lap - maybe I could have been two tenths faster if I had another chance."

Despite Junqueira's huge first-day margin, it was Salo's run that had everyone talking. Or more precisely, Salo's runs. Thanks to some dubious officiating by CART, the Finn made no few than three qualifying attempts, improving from 11th to eighth to second in the process.

With the qualifying order based on morning practice times, Junqueira was one of the first drivers to run because he had fared poorly in the morning practice session after a crash. Bruno's 91.951mph lap set a new record for the altered circuit, which has been shortened by 0.3-miles to measure 1.15-miles.

Bourdais had been fastest in the morning practice, and he was the last driver in the scheduled order to run. That's when the controversy cropped up.

Salo did not complete his original three-lap run because Darren Manning, the next driver to qualify, spun during his warm-up lap. So at the end of the qualifying order, Salo was sent out for another effort, only for CART officials to mistakenly wave the white flag one lap too early. After Manning made a second attempt in his hastily-repaired Reynard, Salo was sent out again for a third run. This time, he completed his allotted three laps and made a 0.9s improvement to earn the first year PK Racing outfit its best qualifying performance.

"In the end the extra laps helped me and second position is really good," Salo said. "I knew where the bumps were a lot better, especially at the last corner. It's difficult to qualify after a wet session in the morning and I'm still struggling with this qualifying system where you go out with cold tyres."

Bourdais was very upset about Salo's additional qualifying allowance: "I don't know what happened with Darren and Mika but it looks like he got three attempts. It's not fair - he did nine laps total and we did three. That's not right. But we'll get them tomorrow. We had only three laps to discover the track conditions. My car was pretty good for qualifying but I made a mistake on my last lap."

Michel Jourdain still harbours championship hopes and he qualified fourth for Team Rahal, followed by Adrian Fernandez and Oriol Servia. But Tracy languished in 14th place after completing only two of his three permitted flying laps. That came on the heels of a morning practice crash in the wet.

"We had a terrible day today," stated Tracy. "I misunderstood what was said on the radio during qualifying and I pitted one lap early."

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