Qualifying 2: Tracy strikes back

Paul Tracy put the controversy over his blocking penalty behind him by storming to pole position on Saturday at the Vancouver street circuit. The Canadian star claimed the provisional pole on Friday but had his qualifying lap disallowed because Champ Car stewards judged that he had intentionally blocked two competitors at the end of the session.

Qualifying 2: Tracy strikes back

In an ironic twist to that storyline, Tracy was blocked during his first qualifying run on Saturday by Gualter Salles. Unlike Friday, when it took an official protest and more than four hours for CART to hand out a penalty, Salles and the Dale Coyne team were informed immediately that Salles would lose his fastest lap from the session.

It took Michel Jourdain less than four minutes to lap faster than Junqueira's provisional pole lap. Sebastien Bourdais then took over by running 61.633s, then Tracy ran a 61.344s less than ten minutes into the session, followed by a 61.337s.

Thirteen minutes in, Roberto Moreno found a lap of 61.172s and jumped to the top of the screens. But Tracy went even faster, running a 61.049s and finally a 60.926s before he ran out of laps with 12 minutes of the 40-minute session still remaining.

Tracy's wait to see if his time would hold up was made easier when his team-mate Patrick Carpentier crashed at the final turn with nine minutes to go. The French-Canadian grazed the wall with his right-rear wheel, which spun the car around to hit the inside wall with the right side. Carpentier lost his fastest lap of the session and still wound up sixth on the grid.

Just over four minutes were left when the green flag waved, but no one beat the controversial Canadian hero. Junqueira improved to 61.070s to run second in the session, while Moreno's time held for third ahead of Jourdain and Bourdais.

"This is very satisfying," Tracy remarked. "Yesterday I felt I was wrongly stripped of pole position and the point that goes with it. The wrong person got it - someone who didn't earn it. So I was very motivated today.

"Our plan was to go out early and do our talking on the track," he added. "There is no room for anyone to complain about anything today."

Junqueira admitted that he might have waited too long in the pits prior to starting his qualifying run. "I pushed with all my heart and I just wanted a shot at PT," he said. "After the red flag, I pushed Michel on the out lap, but he didn't go as fast as he should have and that meant I had one less lap than I expected. That probably cost me a little."

Moreno has improved his season-long best grid position for the last three races. He won the 2000 Vancouver race from the pole.

"We have a good group of people and we've been working well together since after Germany," Moreno stated. "I think with a bit more testing we would be running at the front."

Tiago Monteiro made the biggest overnight improvement, jumping from 19th to 11th. But veterans Jimmy Vasser and Adrian Fernandez were unhappy to qualify 13th and 14th

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