MONTERREY, Mexico -- Sebastien Bourdais captured the
Monterrey Grand Prix pole by breaking his own track record with a
lap time of 1 minute, 13.915 seconds, one of six drivers to break
the old record Saturday.
Bourdais, who won the provisional pole Friday, also set a record
with an average speed of 102.474 mph. He earned his second point in
two days in the Champ Car standings.
He pumped his fists and jumped in the air after climbing out of
his Ford-powered Lola. The previous record was 101.076 mph, which
Bourdais set during qualifying time trials last year.
"I guess this race track in Monterrey is suiting me pretty
well,'' he said with a chuckle. "I'm fairly confident about
Mario Dominguez of Mexico finished second, earning the best
start of his career with a fast lap of 1:14.343.
Rookie Justin Wilson finished third after driving his lap in
Sunday's 72-lap race still looks like could come down to
Bourdais and Paul Tracy. Last year, Bourdais won the pole and led
the first 16 laps before a radio malfunction caused him to miss a
chance to pit, and allowed Tracy to take the lead on the 17th lap.
Tracy, who won the 2003 points championship and the
season-opening race in Long Beach, Calif., last month, finished
sixth in qualifying Saturday.
Champ Car officials, who also overhauled qualifying rules before
the start of the season, again tweaked them Saturday, saying that
all starting positions for Sunday's race would be based on the
times earned in Saturday's final poll time trial session. In the
past, drivers who posted excellent times during Friday qualifying
could sit out Saturday, allowing their early performance to
determine their starting position race day.
Another new rule that took effect Saturday saw the one-hour
qualifying period divided into three segments, 15 minutes of open
practice, 10 minutes when the track was cleared, and 35 minutes of
final time trials. The final segment was extended after two racing
stoppages to ensure a full 35 minutes of driving under optimum
"When they came out with the new rules, the drivers told them
it wasn't a good idea, but they didn't listen to us,'' Bruno
Junqueira said. "It's frustrating and it makes it very confusing
for the fans.''