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Tracy Takes Q1 with Record Lap

Paul Tracy took provisional pole position for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Denver after setting the pace by an emphatic margin in the first qualifying session on Friday afternoon

The 2003 series Champion laid down a marker at the halfway point in the 35-minute session with the first sub-one minute lap of the day. That would have been good enough for pole, but Tracy left nothing to chance and improved by a further two tenths of a second to 59.759 - a new lap record for the tight 1.647-mile street circuit.

He thereby earned a guaranteed front-row starting spot and a bonus Championship point, trimming Sebastien Bourdais' advantage to 27 markers.

If he is to stand a realistic chance of wresting the title back from Bourdais this year, Tracy needs to stem the momentum the Frenchman has built up over the last two races in Edmonton and San Jose; this afternoon's performance was an ideal way to start.

Bourdais was even knocked off the provisional front row by an on-form Mario Dominguez, who made it a Forsythe Championship Racing 1-2.

The Mexican was fastest in the short pre-qualifying warm-up and was a major factor throughout qualifying, even if he ultimately trailed his teammate by the best part of half a second.

Bourdais finished some six tenths of a second adrift of Tracy in third, aboard the leading Newman/Haas Racing entry. The reigning Champion's decision to use nine of his 15 available laps on his first run didn't pay off, and any hopes of usurping Tracy were nixed when Marcus Marshall deposited his Team Australia car in the tyre barrier at Turn Five, bringing the session to an end two minutes early.

AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson were fourth and fifth quickest respectively for RuSPORT, the second-year team based locally in Loveland, Colorado. Allmendinger in particular has a point to prove this weekend - not least to himself - after crashing out of each of the last three races.

Timo Glock once again headed the rookie crop with a strong sixth fastest time for Rocketsports Racing. Fellow freshman Bjorn Wirdheim was seventh, a morale-boosting start to the weekend for the Swede after a series of lacklustre outings in the last few weeks.

Wirdheim's HVM teammate Rodolfo Lavin seems to be settling back into the Champ Car groove after a lengthy hiatus and clocked the eighth best time, while Oriol Servia was a surprisingly off-the-pace ninth in the second Newman/Haas car. Cristiano da Matta rounded out the top ten for PKV Racing.

Pos  Driver              Team                   Time              Laps
 1.  Paul Tracy          Forsythe Championship    59.759           15
 2.  Mario Dominguez     Forsythe Championship  1:00.213 + 0.454   15
 3.  Sebastien Bourdais  Newman Haas            1:00.347 + 0.588   14
 4.  A.J. Allmendinger   RuSPORT                1:00.612 + 0.853   11
 5.  Justin Wilson       RuSPORT                1:00.697 + 0.938   14
 6.  Timo Glock          Rocketsports           1:00.957 + 1.198   15
 7.  Bjorn Wirdheim      HVM, Inc.              1:00.980 + 1.221   14
 8.  Rodolfo Lavin       HVM, Inc.              1:01.029 + 1.270   14
 9.  Oriol Servia        Newman Haas            1:01.043 + 1.284   12
10.  Cristiano da Matta  PKV                    1:01.214 + 1.455   14
11.  Alex Tagliani       Team Australia         1:01.257 + 1.498   11
12.  Ryan Hunter-Reay    Rocketsports           1:01.342 + 1.583   15
13.  Jimmy Vasser        PKV                    1:01.389 + 1.630   13
14.  Nelson Philippe     Mi-Jack Conquest       1:01.434 + 1.675   13
15.  Ronnie Bremer       Dale Coyne             1:01.630 + 1.871   15
16.  Ricardo Sperafico   Dale Coyne             1:01.745 + 1.986   15
17.  Andrew Ranger       Mi-Jack Conquest       1:02.235 + 2.476   14
18.  Marcus Marshall     Team Australia         1:02.651 + 2.892   12

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