Qualifying: Tagliani's hometown pole

Alex Tagliani delighted a large hometown crowd by grabbing pole position for the Montreal round of the Champ Car World Series. A highly competitive qualifying session saw the Quebecois emerge fastest as the top seven runners were covered by two tenths of a second.

Qualifying: Tagliani's hometown pole

With traffic expected to be an issue, most of the front runners went out immediately when the green flag flew. It took less than five minutes for Sebastien Bourdais to beat Oriol Servia's overnight pole time of 1m21.112s, but Bourdais was soon demoted to third by Paul Tracy and Tagliani. Tagliani ran a 1m19.665s on his fifth lap, an effort that stood up to the end of the 40-minute session.

Bruno Junqueira came closest, notching a 1m19.671s effort on his final lap. But thanks to CART's qualifying rules that guarantee a front row spot to the provisional pole winner, Junqueira will start third behind Oriol Servia. The Spaniard came close to matching his Friday achievement, with a 1m19.757s lap good for fourth on the day.

It was Tagliani's fourth career Champ car pole, but his first for the first-year Rocketsports team. The French-Canadian ace started from the pole earlier this year at Milwaukee, but that was because the grid was determined by practice times after qualifying was rained out.

"I'm very happy for my guys," Tagliani said after averaging 122.418mph. "This team has come a long way in a short time. I'm glad Paul Gentilozzi had the confidence in me to put me in his car and I think we're on the way to creating a very good team here.

"Pole is good," he added, "but we have to work hard to finish the other 50 percent of the job tomorrow."

Gentilozzi, who expects to receive confirmation this weekend that Open Wheel Racing Series' bid to purchase CART has been approved by the CART Board of Directors, was delighted by his team's achievement.

"When people believe in each other, this is what happens," he said. "The emotional boost of this is so unbelievable."

Servia tried hard and made a great save from a big slide at the final chicane on his final lap, which was timed at 1m19.843s. He had to settle for the outside of the front row, his best-ever Champ Car grid position.

"We waited to go out and it was a good strategy," he said. "But something on the undertray broke, which spoiled my first run. The way the stars have been this year, this is a great result for the Visteon/Patrick team."

Junqueira was pleased to be starting five places ahead of championship leader Tracy, who could only manage a 1m20.015s lap.

"My car was very good today and throughout the weekend, but Tag was a rocket ship and he was six thousandths better than me," Junqueira said. "It's very close at the front and I think it's going to be a very difficult race, especially since Oriol and Tag are looking for their first win."

Michel Jourdain (1m19.751s) will start fourth, followed by fan favourite Patrick Carpentier (1m19.810s). Bourdais improved to 1m19.818s on his final lap, but it was only good enough for sixth place ahead of Jimmy Vasser and Tracy.

"I couldn't get the car stopped that well - that's been our struggle all weekend," Tracy reported. "Tiago Monteiro really screwed up my best lap, but it would have only been worth a position or two. We clearly didn't have the fastest car today."

shares
comments
Saturday practice: Oriol on top again
Previous article

Saturday practice: Oriol on top again

Next article

Montreal: Jourdain pips Servia

Montreal: Jourdain pips Servia
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