Sunday, August 15, 2004

Bourdais breaks track record, captures pole

Open-wheel roundup

The Associated Press

DENVER - After setting a track record in the opening qualifying round, Sebastien Bourdais set his sights on another mark for the second: the 1-minute mark.

Mission accomplished.

Bourdais broke the track record three more times Saturday, securing the pole for today's Grand Prix of Denver with a time of 59.942 seconds (99.516 mph) on the 1.65-mile course.

"We had talked about it yesterday, breaking the minute barrier, and I am happy I was the first one to do it," Bourdais said. "The car went great today. My crew did a fantastic job."

Track officials altered the course from the first two years, widening many of the turns and straightaways. The drivers took advantage Friday with seven track records, the final coming on Bourdais' last lap of 1 minute, 0.413 seconds.

He was even better the second time around.

Bourdais quickly got things rolling after Gaston Mazzacane's crash into a wall caused a delay, breaking the record with a 1:00.35 lap on his sixth go-round. He didn't take long to lower it, dropping 0.049 his next lap.

Just to make sure he'd get his fifth pole of the season, Bourdais eclipsed the record again two laps later, becoming the first driver in the three-year history of the Denver race to finish with a sub-minute lap.

FORMULA ONE: Michael Schumacher won the pole for the Hungarian Grand Prix with teammate Rubens Barrichello beside him - the fourth time this season Ferrari will start from both front-row spots.

Schumacher captured his seventh pole in 2004 and is going for his 12th victory in 13 races this season. If he wins today, the German becomes the first Formula One driver with 12 victories in a season. He's already the first to have won 11, doing so twice.

BAR-Honda took both places on the second row during Saturday's qualifying, with Japan's Takuma Sato timed in 1:19.693, just ahead of English teammate Jenson Button (1:19.700). Renault's Fernando Alonso was fifth (1:19.996), and BMW Williams driver Antonio Pizzonia was sixth (1:20.170).

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