On the strength of three-straight race wins, Sebastien Bourdais rode his recent wave of momentum in the Champ Car World Series to the provisional pole at the Molson Indy Montreal.

Bourdais has earned three Bridgestone Pole Awards this season and is well on his way to a fourth after posting the fastest time in both Friday morning's practice session and the first round of qualifying Friday afternoon. The Frenchman is also the defending pole sitter from this event last year when he led 26 laps from the point before retiring due to contact.

In his fifth trip around the historic 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve road course, Bourdais clocked a lap at 1:21.824 (119.042 mph). That lap would hold for the provisional pole as Andrew Ranger made hard contact with the Turn 7 wall and brought out the red flag with 11 minutes to go in the session. Champ Car stewards decided four minutes later that the track would not be clear in enough time to finish qualifying and then waved the chequered flag to the session early. Ranger was examined after the accident and cleared to compete by Dr. Chris Pinderski, Champ Car's Director of Medical Affairs.

Newman/Haas driver Oriol Servia was second quick in the session with a lap at 1:22.010 (118.917 mph.) Servia clocked his time in his seventh trip around the circuit. In 2003, Servia started from the outside the front row and led a pair of laps before matching his career-best finish of second.

Paul Tracy was third fastest in his home country with a lap of 1:22.400 (118.354 mph.) The 37-year-old was the first driver out on the track during the qualifying session and posted his top lap as the time to beat on his seventh trip around the circuit. Montreal and Edmonton are the only two Canadian Champ Car venues were Tracy has failed to score a victory.

Bright blue skies dominated the qualifying session as temperatures quickly rose for the drivers in the car. Two drivers, Ricardo Sperafico and Ryan Hunter-Reay failed to set times during the provisional qualifying after separate incidents forced repairs to each car. Hunter-Reay hit the wall in Turn 4 during the morning practice and was ready to get on track for the qualifying session right as the red flag flew for Ranger's incident.

Mario Dominguez, who punched the clock at 1:22.407 (118.344 mph), was fourth fastest on the day and was among the early group of driver's to leave the pit lane when the track went green.

Following the Newman/Haas and Forsythe duos were the stablemates from PKV Racing. 2002 Champ Car titlist Cristiano da Matta, who has also competed at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Formula One competition the last two seasons, was fifth fastest in the session just bettering the time of 1996 Champion Jimmy Vasser.

Justin Wilson joined the fray late in the session and was only able to complete five laps before Ranger's red flag brought an early end to the fight. Nelson Philippe was eighth fastest and Timo Glock was ninth quick.

Quebec native Alex Tagliani was tenth fastest in the session after brushing the wall in Turn 15 wall and bending his rear suspension. The damage forced Tagliani to pit lane after only completing four laps.

The final grid for the Molson Indy Montreal will be set with Saturday's final qualifying.

 

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