NEAR RECORD RUN GIVES SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS
Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) flirted with the track record at the 2.106-mile Burke Lakefront Airport temporary circuit, but came a hair short as he claimed his second pole position of the year. Bourdais will start the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by LaSalle Bank from the most coveted position after posting a fastest lap of 56.363 seconds (134.514 mph). The lap was eight-hundredths of a second slower than the track record set by A.J. Allmendinger in 2006. Though Bourdais won the pole position, he chose to start on the driver’s left side of the track forgoing the traditional inside line into the first corner.
Team Australia’s dynamic duo of Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) flipped their qualifying positions from yesterday’s provisional qualifying . Pagenaud earned his first Champ Car front row starting spot, by posting the second fastest lap of today’s session. The 2006 Atlantic champion lapped the lakefront circuit in 56.388 seconds (134.454 mph). Power will start from third position after his lap at 56.473 seconds (134.252 mph). The young Aussie driver is currently second in the points standings 13 points behind Bourdais.
Rookies Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) will start from the fourth and fifth positions respectively. Both rookies have earned podium finishes this season. Rahal is the youngest ever Champ Car podium finisher while Doornbos has earned a podium finish in three of his first four starts.
Doornbos’ stablemate Dan Clarke (#4 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was sixth fastest with 2003 series champion Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) starting seventh. RSPORTS teammates Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Alex Tagliani (#8 LXN2 Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) will start eighth and ninth with Forsythe Championship Racing’s Oriol Servia (#7 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) slated to start tenth.
The Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by LaSalle Bank will go green at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on Sunday. Champ Car fans can watch all of the exciting action live on CBS Sports or via the official website of the Champ Car World Series, www.champcar.ws.
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QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE FRIDAY QUALIFIERS
Sebastien Bourdais: “Last time we sat on the pole we went on to lead the race after a big fight with Paul. It brings us back four years back. It's a good feeling obviously. It's about the closest margin you can hope. I think the option tires are a little tougher to work. We struggled a little bit. In the first run we got some traffic also. It wasn't really the best run we could hope for, but the McDonald's car is very good. This session, as yesterday, only took place in the first half, and the second half was ruined by red flags and traffic. It's very typical of the racetrack. Unfortunately when it's a 56-second lap, it doesn't give you much distance between the 18, 17 cars we have on the track. That's the way it is. You've got to manage it. We did pretty good today. It's good time for the race of tomorrow.”
Simon Pagenaud: “I think it's going to be quite spectacular. I'm just very proud about what Team Australia did today. We were struggling a little bit in the morning. Went back to the truck, worked quite hard with my engineer. I'm very happy because we had very good discussion, very good communication together. We went back on track this afternoon. The car was just perfect. Went back to pit lane and I said, That's the best car I ever had. We can do it. Put black tires on. Did quite a decent lap. Could have been a little bit better. But, you know, got some traffic. But I'm very happy about what we did. After that, we had the red flag. I put red tires on before. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to see what was doing the red tires. Looked like we could have gone quicker. We know we have a very good race car. I think we're going to be up there tomorrow. We're going to try to do a good strategy, save fuel. We'll see where we end up, but I'm sure we'll be up there.”
Will Power: “I think we're in a pretty good position for the race because, as you've seen in past years, there's a lot of mayhem. I had a look at last year's race. I count every single person, every driver in the whole field made a mistake, spun or ran off, got hit off, whatever. I think it's going to be pretty mixed up tomorrow. I think it will be a lot of fun for the fans.”