Qualifying 2: Tracy takes pole

Paul Tracy has held the upper hand over Bruno Junqueira all weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and that trend continued during Saturday's final qualifying session. The Canadian earned his CART series leading fifth pole of the season and cut Junqueira's championship lead to one point heading into Sunday's 92-lap marathon

Qualifying 2: Tracy takes pole

Tracy didn't waste any time getting the job done Saturday, turning his 1m07.056s pole lap on his third tour of the 2.258-mile course. His closest competition in the end came in the surprising form of rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay, who qualified a career-best second in Stefan Johansson's Reynard - the best qualifying showing of the season for the unfancied machine.

"Track conditions were pretty tricky today," Tracy said. "It was really slow at the start, so we waited until the first guy got into the 7's before we went out. I usually don't go until my fourth lap, but I just had a clear track and I felt the tyres were close. I was watching my splits and saw that I was gaining time everywhere, so I stayed with it."

Tracy came out again at the end of the 40-minute session and turned a 1m07.1s before a red flag for Mario Dominguez' trip into the Turn 10 tyre barrier ended the action while most of the front-runners were on their final flying laps.

"At the end I did a 1m07.1s and I had another good lap going until the red came out," Tracy stated. "It was just good enough to beat Ryan."

Hunter-Reay provisionally qualified third at Portland but lost the result when his car came in underweight. The 22-year old moved up from ninth on the provisional grid with a 1m07.074s lap.

"Awesome - I feel like screaming!" he exclaimed. "All weekend the pace has been there. It took a lot of discipline to save it until the end, but we got the set-up working, we're going fast and everything is clicking.

"I did a 1m07.4 and I thought I could get down to a 1m07.2s," he added. "We gambled on a few tweaks in the car and I actually found a little more."

Sebastien Bourdais qualified third and was one of several drivers to complain about traffic on the short and tight road course. "We definitely had a very good set-up, but the red flag hurt us for the second day in a row," he remarked. "We waited a long time because we knew the track was going to be very slow in the beginning and there was no point in going out. When it works, that's a good strategy, and when it doesn't, you have to take your medicine."

Bourdais' team-mate, championship leader Junqueira, was disappointed to qualify sixth behind Michel Jourdain and Patrick Carpentier. "Two or three guys improved their time on the second set of tyres and we didn't - that was the difference," he said. "But this is a long race and anything can happen."

Alex Tagliani relied on his Friday time and fell from third to seventh. Oriol Servia and Mexicans Mario Dominguez and Adrian Fernandez rounded out the top ten, while Darren Manning was disappointed to qualify 13th at a track where the Reynard chassis was expected to shine.

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