Sebastien Bourdais Captures Pole for Tomorrow’s Phoenix Grand Prix

Sebastien Bourdais Qualifying Summary:
Sebastien Bourdais, in the No. 18 Team SealMaster – Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry, went out last of the 23 cars that made a qualifying attempt…and he made it count, taking the pole for tomorrow’s Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix. Bourdais, who had a two-lap average speed of 188.539 mph, captured his first pole of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season, the 34th of his illustrious career (seventh all-time), fourth on an oval (in 35 attempts) and first on an oval since returning to IndyCar racing in 2011. It was also the second pole for Dale Coyne Racing. The pole puts Bourdais in the driver’s seat in the championship standings. He opened the season with a win at St. Petersburg (defending his title in the city where he resides). Today’s pole places him in a position to build on the championship lead. Phoenix is a demanding one-mile oval and with the new aero kits introduced by IndyCar this year, there is a premium on running in clean air, which, obviously, is easier to do from the pole.

Practice Session No. 1:
Third: 20.1738 second/182.138

Qualifying:
Qualified: First
Lap 1: 19.5034 secs
Lap 2: 19.5251 secs
Average Speed/Total Time: 188.539 mph/39.0285 secs

Sebastien Bourdais Qualifying Quote:
“I have to say every time I jump in that car in qualifying trim and stuff, I think Indy. It stays in the back of your mind. You fight yourself more than the car, I think at some point. It was just a good effort. The guys did a really good job. Obviously qualifying position is pretty big. I knew it was going to take a flat (Turn) 3 and 4. I wasn’t quite sure about Turn 1 and 2 and how much I needed to dig. The car was really solid. That SealMaster No. 18 Honda was really solid. As soon as that track temp cooled off, it just gives you all the grip you need to make it happen. It’s high tension, high pressure. Really listening to the car and making sure you don’t overdo it. It’s a great achievement for the whole Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan team.”

Fact Facts:

  • This is the first pole of 2018 for Bourdais and the34th of his IndyCar career.
  • He now has sole possession of seventh place on the all-time list. He was previously tied with Dario Franchitti.
  • It is Bourdais’ first pole since he won the pole at Mid-Ohio in 2014. It is his first oval pole since 2006 when he won the pole at Milwaukee.
  • It is the second pole position in the history of Dale Coyne Racing and its first pole since Mike Conway won the pole at Detroit in 2013.
  • Bourdais is contesting his 13th Verizon IndyCar Series season, third with Dale Coyne Racing and first with Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan.
  • The 2018 Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix will be Bourdais’ 173rd Verizon IndyCar Series start, third at Phoenix and 35th on an oval.
  • In two previous starts at Phoenix, Bourdais has a best starting position of 10th (2017) and a best finish of eighth (2016).
  • In 172 career IndyCar starts, Bourdais has won 37 races (sixth all-time) and captured 34 pole positions (seventh all-time).
  • Of Bourdais’ 34 career oval starts, 26 have come in the last six years (25 in last five years).
  • Bourdais has made 27 IndyCar oval starts (includes 2005 Indy 500) with a best qualifying effort of first at Phoenix in 2018 (previous high was fourth at Fontana in 2013). His best finish is a victory at Milwaukee in 2015. It was his first oval win since 2006 also at Milwaukee.
  • Bourdais made seven oval starts in Champ Car earning four victories: Lausitz, 2003; Las Vegas in 2004 and 2005; Milwaukee 2006 and capturing three poles: Lausitz, 2003; Las Vegas 2005 and Milwaukee in 2006.
    Bourdais is the only driver to win four consecutive IndyCar championships (2004 – 2007).
  • He competed in 27 Formula One races (2008-2009) and is an accomplished sports car racer having won the GT Le Mans class in 2017, the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours in the GTE Pro category (from the pole), the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans in 2015 and the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2014 (was runner-up in 2015). He has another pole and three runner-up finishes (2007, 2009 and 2011) at Le Mans.
  • Bourdais, 39, is a native of Le Mans, France but resides in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Race Broadcast:
The second race of the 2018 Version IndyCar Series will be the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix, April 6-7, at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, AZ. The race will be broadcast live on NBCSN at 9:00 p.m. ET. It is also available on radio: XM 209 and IMS IndyCar Radio as well as online: IndyCar.com and Verizon IndyCar 15 app.