Servia makes Bourdais wait

Oriol Servia kept his title hopes mathematically alive by scoring his first ever Champ Car pole position at Surfers Paradise on Saturday

Servia makes Bourdais wait

By earning the attendant championship point, the Spaniard shaved Newman/Haas teammate Sebastien Bourdais' advantage to 67 points, with 68 still available over the final two races here and in Mexico City.

In reality, though, Servia merely secured a stay of execution, for Bourdais will automatically become champion by virtue of starting tomorrow's race; 19th and last place pays two points, enough to give him an insurmountable lead.

Friday's rain had given way to bright blue skies, ensuring that the spectacular Gold Coast scenery once again looked like the travel brochures.

Servia set the pace in the hour-long morning practice session and snatched pole with a perfectly timed run three minutes from the end of qualifying, lapping the tricky 2.795-mile street circuit in 1:32.616 (108.642mph) to usurp Mario Dominguez from the top of the charts.

The Mexican fought back valiantly but came up 0.051s short, and with fifth-fastest Bourdais having annexed a front-row slot by claiming provisional pole yesterday, Dominguez will line up third on the grid for tomorrow's race.

He will be flanked on the second row by 2002 series champion Cristiano da Matta, who matched his qualifying effort from the very different Las Vegas oval for PKV Racing.

For once, 2003 title holder Paul Tracy was upstaged by teammate Dominguez and brushed the wall in his efforts to improve in the closing stages, restricting him to fifth on the grid ahead of RuSPORT stablemates AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson and the second PKV entry of Jimmy Vasser.

Alex Tagliani paced the three-strong Team Australia contingent with the ninth fastest time, but only just shaded Aussie debutant Will Power, who qualified an excellent 11th.

Tagliani and Power were sandwiched by Timo Glock, who has a comfortable 40-point lead over Ronnie Bremer in the Rookie of the Year standings and is well placed to clinch that title tomorrow.

Glock's Rocketsports teammate Michael McDowell qualified a respectable 16th for his maiden Champ Car race, 0.9s adrift of the former Jordan Formula One driver.

Pos Driver Team Time 1. Oriol Servia Newman Haas 1:32.616 2. Sebastien Bourdais Newman Haas 1:33.211 +0.595 3. Mario Dominguez Forsythe Championship 1:32.667 +0.051 4. Cristiano da Matta PKV 1:32.753 +0.137 5. Paul Tracy Forsythe Championship 1:32.976 +0.360 6. A.J. Allmendinger RuSPORT 1:33.250 +0.634 7. Justin Wilson RuSPORT 1:33.360 +0.744 8. Jimmy Vasser PKV Racing 1:33.703 +1.087 9. Alex Tagliani Team Australia 1:34.137 +1.521 10. Timo Glock Rocketsports 1:34.554 +1.938 11. Will Power Team Australia 1:34.599 +1.983 12. Rodolfo Lavin HVM, Inc. 1:34.780 +2.164 13. Marcus Marshall Team Australia 1:34.854 +2.238 14. Nelson Philippe Mi-Jack Conquest 1:34.937 +2.321 15. Ronnie Bremer Dale Coyne 1:35.406 +2.790 16. Michael McDowell Rocketsports 1:35.415 +2.799 17. Andrew Ranger Mi-Jack Conquest 1:35.645 +3.029 18. Ricardo Sperafico Dale Coyne 1:35.711 +3.095 19. Fabrizio del Monte HVM, Inc. 1:36.268 +3.652 
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