A steady start to the Lexmark Indy 300 weekend in Australia saw Team Rahal's Michel Jourdain Jr wind up eighth on the provisional starting grid and just one point away from final elimination from this year's Champ Car World Series points chase.

Jourdain Jr entered the Surfers Paradise event 43 points behind leader Paul Tracy with just 45 left on the table. After failing to earn the extra bonus point for provisional pole position in Friday's first qualifying session, Jourdain Jr must now sweep all 44 remaining Championship points and hope that Tracy fails to add to his current total.

"We weren't where we wanted to be with the Gigante car today," said Jourdain Jr, who finished the opening 40-minute qualifying period with a fastest lap of 1:34.447secs, nearly two seconds slower than provisional pole man Bruno Junqueira. "We spent most of the day still working on the balance due to some understeer and traction problems. We made some changes for qualifying and while we improved the understeer we made the traction a little bit worse. We still have some changes we need to make for tomorrow. We really have our work cut-out for us because we are still a bit off pace from Bruno."

Jourdain turned his fastest lap on lap six (from a maximum of 15) during his initial qualifying run. Like the majority of the drivers in qualifying, Jourdain was unable to go faster on his second set of Bridgestone tyres.

Junqueira captured the provisional pole position and guaranteed himself a front row starting spot for Sunday's race, closing the gap between him and Tracy to 28 points at the head of the table. Team Rahal has never won the race in Surfers Paradise finishing second three times. The best start for a Team Rahal driver on the 2.795-mile course was second for Bryan Herta in 1999.



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