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The two are also in a tight battle for the overall series point lead.



Published: Sun, July 10, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The two are also in a tight battle for the overall series point lead.

TORONTO (AP) -- Defending race winner Sebastien Bourdais recovered from an accident in practice Saturday to bump Paul Tracy off the pole for the Toronto Molson Indy and tighten the battle for the Champ Car series points lead.

"Every point from now on pretty much counts as double," said Bourdais, who earned one point for winning the pole. "It's going to be a long fight for the championship."

One-point lead

Tracy, who will start second in today's race because he won the provisional pole, is clinging to a one-point lead over Bourdais in the series standings.

He was clearly annoyed at losing the top starting spot, and blamed rival driver Cristiano da Matta for costing him the position. Tracy said he was in the closing part of a lap that would have easily claimed the pole when da Matta refused to let him by on the 1.775-mile, 11-turn temporary street course.

"Two corners from the end I caught da Matta and he just wouldn't let me go by," Tracy said. "It really cost me the pole. I'm pretty disappointed with Cristiano."

Tracy, a two-time winner of his hometown race, said he expressed his frustration by driving over to da Matta's pit stall and scaring the team by revving his engine.

"I guess they are all up in arms about that," he said.

The pole is the place to be in this event -- the past three race winners all won from the first starting position, including Bourdais last season and Tracy in 2003. Passing is difficult on this street course, so all eyes will be on the first two drivers when they head into the first turn.

One mistake or aggressive move could eliminate either from the race and jumble the championship race.

"Sebastien's going to lead away from the start," Tracy said. "It's his start to choose the way he wants to do it. We'll just try to hopefully get everybody through the first corner and go racing."

Fastest lap

Bourdais put himself on the pole by turning a lap of 58.552 seconds. Justin Wilson just missed stealing the pole away from him with his lap of 58.554 that put him third on the starting grid.

To win the pole, Bourdais' Newman-Haas Racing team had to quickly repair damage caused when Bourdais wrecked late in the final practice.

"Just made a mistake personally," Bourdais said. "The crew did an awesome job to put the thing together, to bring it out on time so I could have the chance to challenge for the pole position. We pulled it off."

Surprised by wreck

Bourdais was surprised that he wrecked, and shocked by how much damage was done to his car.

"I really got surprised. By the time you realize what is happening, you're already brushing the wall pretty heavily," he said. "Wasn't a big contact, but you know, it was just kind of sticking out of the curb."

Oriol Servia qualified fourth and was followed by Alex Tagliani, Mario Dominguez and Jimmy Vasser. Da Matta, A.J. Allmendinger and Nelson Philippe rounded out the top 10.

The 35-minute qualifying session was cut a few minutes short because of a red flag when Alex Sperafico crashed.




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