Frenchman Bourdais on pole position in Belgium

Frenchman Bourdais on pole position in Belgium

25.08.2007: Frenchman Bourdais on pole position in Belgium

Three-time Champion Continues Run Towards Record Championship

PHOTOS SLIDESHOWS here...more to follow http://www.autmobilsport.com/Galerien/galerien/american-series--86.html

For the fourth time this season, Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) will lead the field at the start, as the French driver drove to his 30th career pole position at the Zolder Circuit in Belgium. Bourdais lapped the 2.492-mile circuit in 1 minute 12.821 seconds setting the track record at the historic race track.

The three-time champion is looking to become the first driver to win four consecutive Champ Car titles, and after earning one championship point for today’s pole position, Bourdais now leads the race for the Vanderbilt Cup by 38 points over third place qualifier Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone).

After not being able to run in yesterday’s qualifying because of mechanical issues, Doornbos showed the speed that has put him at the top of the rookie-of-the-year standings to earn the third spot on the grid. Though his time was faster than Team Australia’s Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), the Aussie driver will start second after setting the fastest time in Friday’s qualifying session. Tomorrow will mark the fourth time Bourdais and Power have shared the front row.

Bruno Junqueira (#19 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) will start fourth, his best starting spot of the year and Dale Coyne Racing’s best start since Long Beach in 1998.

The third row will be made up of the RuSPORT/Rocketsports duo of Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Alex Tagliani (#8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone). Both drivers moved up considerably from Friday’s qualifying session obviously adapting their setup to the Zolder circuit.

Starting seventh will be Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/ Bridgestone) who also gained time overnight. He will be joined on the fourth row by rookie Simon Pagenaud (# 15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), who was third quickest on Friday but unable to improve his time as much as the other drivers.

Another rookie, Neel Jani (#21 Red Bull-Gulfstream Cosworth/ DP01 /Bridgestone) will start ninth next to Oriol Servia (#7 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), who improved his time by more than one second compared to Friday’s qualifying.

Local hero, Jan Heylen (#34 Grafiprint Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) will start 11th. The Belgian driver was unable to run on Friday after being involved in multi-car accident in the morning practice. His Conquest team spent the next 13 hours rebuilding Heylen’s DP01 until after midnight.

The Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium will kickoff the Phanos Resorts Champ Car European Cup competition at 2:00 p.m. local (8:00 a.m. ET) on Sunday. The race can be seen live on ESPN Classic in the United States and on Eurosport 2 throughout Europe. Fans can also follow all of the action via the official website of the Champ Car World Series, www.champcar.ws.

QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE STARTERS

Sebastien Bourdais: "It was a little harder than I thought. The 15 minute practice went really well with the standard tires on the McDonald’s car. I thought when we put the red tires on it was going to be easier and the lap time would come really fast but we got a little bit of traffic and I made a couple of mistakes and didn't hit the tires when they were at their best"

Will Power: "That is exactly how we thought it would play out today so we used the red tires yesterday to try and guarantee a front row start. We are thinking of tomorrow – we need to win a race and everything has played out exactly as I wanted, no problem.

Robert Doornbos : "Today went really well. It is an amazing circuit to drive with Champ Cars, it’s really fast – turn one and two in particular we have been going faster and faster."

- Tom McGovern -

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25.08.2007 / MaP

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