Sebastien Bourdais Qualifying Summary:
A pair of red flags during qualifying destroyed any chance for two-time defending Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg champion and local resident, Sebastien Bourdais, to record a timed lap. Bourdais, in the No. 18 Team SealMaster-Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan car, went out in Group 1 in Round 1 of qualifying. After staying in pit lane for a short period of time to get a clear track, Bourdais launched, however, on his out lap Marco Andretti caused a red flag stopping the action but, by IndyCar rules, not the clock. Time ran down to a little over three minutes left in the 10-minute session before the track was again green. Bourdais left pit lane and once again, on his out lap, a red flag was shown halting qualifying, but again not the clock which expired without another lap being turned. Bourdais, who has won from the back of the field at St. Petersburg the last two years, will start 19th in tomorrow’s 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Sebastien Bourdais Qualifying Quote:
“I’m not quite sure what to say. I didn’t even get a timed lap. I think the SealMaster Honda car is really competitive. It’s just a shame. I feel that we owe it to the fans, sponsors and teams to at least show something that’s representative, but the rules are there for a reason. However, the rules do not provide for something like this where you barely get any green flag time. I feel really bad for everybody. I guess we should have gone out right away, but that is easy to say now. The good news is the Dale Coyne with Vasser-Sullivan team has plenty of sticker (new) tires, both the Firestone reds (alternate) and blacks (primary), so I am excited for tomorrow. Obviously, we will be playing the long game again. That’s all you can do from where we’ll start. We’ll give it our best shot. We’ve done it the last two years from there (won from the back of the field), so we know it’s possible.”
Bourdais has qualified in the top-10 three times in nine attempts at St. Pete with one pole (his first IndyCar race in 2003).
In eighth previous starts at St. Pete, Bourdais two wins (2017 and 2018). He is the only two-time winner of the St. Pete race.
Bourdais is contesting his 14th NTT IndyCar Series season, fourth with Dale Coyne Racing and second with Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan.
The 2019 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be Bourdais’ 189th NTT IndyCar Series start and 10th appearance on the streets St. Petersburg. He will be attempting to compete in his ninth race (did not start in 2011).
In 188 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, 40, is a native of Le Mans, France but resides in St. Petersburg, Florida.