Qualifying 2: Tracy gets it done

Paul Tracy didn't waste any time in securing pole position for Sunday's Champ Car round at Portland International Raceway. The Canadian's pole lap of 58.793s (120.666 mph) came just five minutes into Saturday afternoon's qualifying session - a good thing, because a strong shower soaked the track just over halfway through the scheduled 40 minutes of qualifying.

Qualifying 2: Tracy gets it done

By then, Tracy and most of his competitors had already completed their allotted 15 laps. Provisional pole winner Michel Jourdain still had laps to run, but the rain prevented him from keeping the top spot. The Mexican's 58.38s lap was second fastest on Saturday, with Adrian Fernandez and Sebastien Bourdais next up to fill the second row of the grid.

"We felt the rain would come so we wanted to get three or four laps in early in case we couldn't do another run," Tracy explained after winning his 15th career Champ Car pole. "This track is a little bit funny. When there is no rubber down, it's very fast, with a lot of grip. I think today the track was at its best right at the start of qualifying."

Jourdain's 59.379s lap set the standard Friday, but Michel completed only nine laps before the rains came. "We were in a different position from everyone else because we were guaranteed to be on the front row," he said. "We took a gamble by waiting and maybe we waited a little too much because suddenly I saw 58s on the board and I realized holding onto the pole wouldn't be easy. But I went out and did a good time."

Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was second fastest on Friday only to have his time disqualified because his Stefan Johansson Reynard was underweight, responded well to qualify seventh, two spots ahead of his teammate Jimmy Vasser. But Tracy's Forsythe Racing teammate Patrick Carpentier was disappointed to run 10th, one spot ahead of Bruno Junqueira.

Sunday's forecast is similar to what was dished out Friday and Saturday - a mixture of wet and dry conditions. One of the unique characteristics of the Portland road course is its ability to shed moisture. On Saturday, the track went from standing water to dry in less than an hour.

"The race will be won by the best driver, the guy who can adapt best to the changing conditions," reckoned Tracy. "These cars are very difficult to keep on the track in the wet if you're on dry tyres, and they're tough to drive in the dry on wets. So if the weather is anything like today, it's going to be a tremendous challenge."

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Practice 2: Jourdain again
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Practice 2: Jourdain again

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