Qualifying: Bourdais secures pole

Sebastien Bourdais proved Saturday that he is the fastest man in the Champ Car World Series no matter what type of circuit is on the menu. The 23-year old Frenchman's remarkable rookie run continued as he took pole position for Sunday's German 500 on his oval-track debut

Qualifying: Bourdais secures pole

Newman/Haas Racing again ran 1-2, but Bruno Junqueira looked far from happy as he listened to the airhorns and claxons that greeted his teammate's pole lap. Bourdais ran a 37.000-second (196.832 mph) lap that was 0.211 second faster than his more experienced colleague.

"We've had a very strong car since the beginning of the season but I'm a bit surprised that I won the pole here," Bourdais said after claiming his third pole in five Champ Car races. "We were so quick at Brands Hatch that I thought we maybe didn't keep enough car for this event. But we knew that the pole was a possibility after we were fastest in practice."

Second on the grid marks Junqueira's best qualifying performance of the 2003 season, but he was clearly not pleased with the order of things. "It's terrible," he said. "I can't believe I'm beaten around here by two tenths of a second. That's a lifetime around here That's never happened in my life on an oval, but the difference between engines is incredible. Plus my car carries extra weight because I'm lighter and I have to carry a camera, and that's more drag - maybe half a tenth."

Behind the Newman/Haas duo came early-season star Michel Jourdain Jr., keen to score his first win after coming so close at Long Beach. He ran a 37.274-second qualifying lap. The Mexican briefly lost his time after being disqualified for a technical infringement, but an appeal by Team Rahal was upheld and his rightful grid position was restored.

Fourth went to Mario Haberfeld, who just pipped Darren Manning for fastest Reynard honours. "I don't think there is anybody who isn't running wide-open," said Manning after qualifying a career-best fifth. "We dialed out the push that I had in the morning. Third row is good - we'll see how it goes."

Mario Dominguez will start from the third row, sixth place representing the fourth time in five races this year that the Mexican has achieved a career-best. Oriol Servia was seventh, with the top ten filled out by Rodolfo Lavin, Alex Tagliani, and Patrick Lemarie.

Those teams that opted for additional downforce given the compromise between Brands Hatch and Eurospeedway suffered. Adrian Fernandez was dead last, while the Player's/Forsythe duo of championship leader Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier were 16th and 17th.

"Not very good, obviously," Tracy stated. "I gave it everything but the car was not responding. I wanted to take the seat out for qualifying so that I could sit lower in the car but they told me it was illegal."

Quipped Carpentier: "I wanted to drive through the pits to shorten the lap but I don't think that would have looked good. The car is like a parachute."

Free practice: Bourdais quickest

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