St. Petersburg, FL (March 11, 2017) – Dale Coyne Racing entered the first qualifying session of the season with high, yet realistic expectations after seeing Sebastien Bourdais place fifth in the morning’s practice session, but it wasn’t meant to be for the team on Saturday in St. Petersburg.
While rookie Ed Jones made a good first impression qualifying 18th, Frenchman Bourdais will be starting from the back of the field for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Bourdais, who also placed fifth in the combined practice results, was entering the final corner of the track on his out lap in Group 2 of Round 1 of qualifying when he locked up the brakes and went off track, causing a red flag and stoppage of the session.
Per article 8.3.5. of the IndyCar rule book “if a car causes a Red Condition in any segment, the Car’s best two (2) timed laps of the segment shall be disallowed, the Car may not continue in the segment, and the car shall not advance to the next round.”
Therefore, Bourdais was parked until the end of the session and he had to settle for 21st place on the grid.
Jones who felt ‘at home’ aboard his #19 Boy Scouts of America Honda registered his best lap of the weekend in his first ever IndyCar qualifying with a time of 1:01.7598. A lap which would place him in row nine, right behind the likes of Marco Andretti and Helio Castroneves.
Bourdais and Jones will have a 30-minute warm-up at 9:00am ET to fine tune their cars ahead of the season opening race. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast live on ABC starting at Noon ET on Sunday, March 12.
Sebastien Bourdais - #18 Sonny’s BBQ Honda
Version française plus bas
“I have no idea what happened, everything felt fine in Turn 10. I got on the brakes and got to the last corner and nothing happened. I locked up the inside front and never really slowed down properly. It never happened before. I’ve been very happy with the braking, we’ve just had some overheating issues but that has nothing to do with that. I guess I thought the brakes were in. Maybe I took it too easy around the start of the first lap and by the time I got to start the fast lap the rears were not up and I didn’t get any slowing down from the rears and locked up the front and that was that.”
Ed Jones - #19 Boy Scouts of America Honda
“It was a little frustrating that the red flag came out early on. I didn’t get to have a first go at the Firestone Reds so I had to go straight out again on a new set and push from there. For me it was a bit of an unknown how the jump was going to be. The car felt really good and I felt like I was finally there. I felt a lot more comfortable in the car. The difference with the Reds it that I just didn’t have time to adapt. By the time I realized how much deeper I could go, the tires had already started falling off of their best. At least I know for next time. I was really excited to do my first IndyCar qualifying. I just felt at home, so that’s the most important thing. Overall, I’m happy with how it went.
Sébastien Bourdais en français :
« Je ne sais pas ce qui s’est passé. Tout allait bien au virage numéro 10 et quand je suis arrivé au dernier virage j’ai appuyé les freins et il n’y a rien qui s’est passé. J’ai bloqué la roue avant droite et l’auto n’a jamais ralentit comme il faut. Je n’ai eu aucun problème avec les freins jusqu'à maintenant, à part des problèmes de températures trop élevés, mais ça n’a rien à voir avec ce qui s’est passé. Peut-être que je croyais que les freins étaient montés en température, peut être que je n’ai pas assez poussé sur mon out lap et j’ai fini par bloquée la roue avant droite. C’est dommage car on a une bonne voiture. »
**Le règlement IndyCar stipule qu'une voiture qui cause un drapeau rouge, ne peut continuer dans la session. Voilà pourquoi, Bourdais n'a pas pu continuer, et a du se contenter de la dernière place sur la grille de départ.