Qualifying 2: Bourdais grabs pole

Sebastien Bourdais turned in a superb performance to take his fourth pole in nine races on the fast, bumpy Cleveland airport circuit on Friday evening

Qualifying 2: Bourdais grabs pole

Bourdais took the pole with four minutes to go in the session then bettered his time in the last two minutes. It was a textbook perfect showing from the French rookie.

"Yesterday we found we had a very good car for these conditions," Bourdais said. "We really didn't make any changes today. We were fairly confident. I knew it was going to be okay as long as we had good conditions and a clear lap."

Bourdais was worried when the red flag came out after Paul Tracy spun and stalled in the middle of the session. Bourdais had not been able to turn a quick lap at that stage.

"Things were not going so good," he observed. "So on my second run I took my time to get up to speed and it worked fairly well."

Then Patrick Carpentier spun, although he kept the engine going and was able to continue. "I was a bit scared when Patrick spun because I thought there was going to be a red (flag)," Bourdais added. "But there wasn't any red and we were able to keep going and get the best from the car and the tyres. I tried to do a safe lap and not cause a red. I didn't feel I had achieved a very great lap but it turned out it was good enough."

Provisional polewinner Paul Tracy retained a place on the front row thanks to his quick lap from Friday. Tracy was unable to improve today and didn't help his cause by spinning and stalling in the middle of the session, cancelling his quick time of the session. Still, the championship leader will start from the front row for the sixth time this year.

"I was really pushing hard when I spun," Tracy said. "I had the throttle down hard and it got away from me. That meant on my second set of tyres I had to do two lap times because I was going to lose my time. There was a lot going on out there. Cars were spinning and dust was flying everywhere. So we decided to save the tyres for the race rather than risk ruining another set."

Tracy's team-mate Patrick Carpentier qualified third, just 0.044s slower than his compatriot. Oriol Servia equalled his best qualifying performance of the year by taking fourth on the grid with Bourdais's team-mate Bruno Junqueira qualifying fifth. Junqueira fell from second to fifth in the last minute of the session after a mid-session change in set-up proved to be the wrong move.

Michel Jourdain qualified sixth, only the third time this year he's qualified out of the top five. Fastest Reynard driver was Jimmy Vasser who qualified tenth directly ahead of team-mate Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Saturday's race takes the green flag at 20.30 eastern time and will be run over 115 laps of the fast, bumpy 2.106-mile airport circuit.

shares
comments
The inside line on the French GP

Previous article

The inside line on the French GP

Next article

Warm-up: Tracy top on historic day

Warm-up: Tracy top on historic day
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