Sebastien Bourdais Qualifying Summary:
Sebastien Bourdais had his best qualifying effort in eight attempts at Barber Motorsports Park qualifying third today for tomorrow’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Bourdais, behind the wheel of the No. 18 Team SealMaster – Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda/Dallara/Firestone car, entered qualifying seventh on the combined speed report following two practice sessions yesterday and one this morning. Bourdais went out in Group 2 in the first round of qualifying and despite not getting a timed lap on the faster Firestone red (alternate) tires due to a red flag, still posted the second fastest lap of the 12 drivers in his group. He therefore advanced to Round 2. In the second round, Bourdais recorded the sixth fastest lap and advanced to the final round of qualifying, the Firestone Fast Six. This is the first time in three road/street events this season that he has advanced to the final round. In the Firestone Fast Six, the team waited until approximately four and a half minutes were left in the six-minute session and made one run again on the red tires. On his first timed lap, Bourdais took over the top spot on the speed charts. However, at the end of the session two drivers slipped past him dropping Bourdais to third overall. The third-place qualifying spot surpasses his previous best of fifth at Barber in 2016.
Practice Session No. 3: Ninth – 68.0218 sec/121.726 mph
Combined Practice Report: Seventh – 67.7971 sec/122.129 (Practice 2)
Round 1 (Group 2): Second – 68.2597 sec
Round 2: Sixth – 67.5435 sec
Round 3 (Firestone Fast Six): Third – 67.5337 sec/122/605 mph
Qualified: Third – 67.5337 sec/122/605 mph
Sebastien Bourdais Qualifying Quote:
“Obviously, a really solid day for the SealMaster Honda No. 18. We’re just missing that final last little bit. I’m not quite sure how we are going to get that thing to turn in the slow speed corners. I’m really struggling to get it in and as the track grips up you can tell we are struggling to keep up. It is what it is, but I am really satisfied with third in qualifying. I don’t think I would have put a lot of money on qualifying that high, to be honest. We really had to be on our “A” game to do that. It was so tight, we were even wondering if we were going to make it out of Q1 (first round of qualifying). I am really happy it turned out the way it did. We tried something overnight that wasn’t quite right and we lost pace this morning in comparison to the opposition. So, we went back to yesterday’s car and tweaked on it and it seemed to be pretty darn good. We will keep digging and see what kind of conditions tomorrow brings. It more than likely looks like rain. I have no idea what that will do because I have never turned a single lap with that car, that bodywork, in the rain. So, there are a lot of question marks, but we will take whatever comes our way. Hopefully, we hit the setup right.”
- This is Bourdais third top-10 qualifying effort in the first four races of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season. In addition to today’s third place qualifying effort, he captured the pole at Phoenix and started ninth at Long Beach.
- This is the second time Bourdais has advance to Round 2 of road/street course qualifying (also did it at Long Beach) and the first time he has made the Firestone Fast Six (the final round) in three road/street races this year.
- This was Bourdais best qualifying effort in eight attempts at Barber. His previous best was fifth in 2016. He also qualified seventh in 2015.
- Bourdais has a best finish of eighth in 2015 and 2017.
- Bourdais is fourth in the championship standings with 88 points on the strength of a victory at St. Petersburg and 13th place showings at Phoenix and Long Beach.
- 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 Honda Grand Prix of Alabama will be Bourdais’ 175th Verizon IndyCar Series start and eighth at Barber Motorsports Park.
- In 174 career IndyCar starts, Bourdais has won 37 races (sixth all-time) and captured 34 pole positions (seventh all-time).
- 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.
Round 4 of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season will be the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama, April 20-22, at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL. The race will be broadcast live on NBCSN at 3:00 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.