Bourdais beats out Dominguez
Bourdais, who won the provisional pole Friday, also set a record with an average speed of 102.474 mph. He earned his second point in two days in the Champ Car standings.
He pumped his fists and jumped in the air after climbing out of his Ford-powered Lola. The previous record was 101.076 mph, which Bourdais set during qualifying time trials last year.
"I guess this race track in Monterrey is suiting me pretty well,'' he said with a chuckle. "I'm fairly confident about tomorrow's race.''
Mario Dominguez of Mexico finished second, earning the best start of his career with a fast lap of 1:14.343.
Rookie Justin Wilson finished third after driving his lap in 1:14.354.
Sunday's 72-lap race still looks like could come down to Bourdais and Paul Tracy. Last year, Bourdais won the pole and led the first 16 laps before a radio malfunction caused him to miss a chance to pit, and allowed Tracy to take the lead on the 17th lap.
Tracy, who won the 2003 points championship and the season-opening race in Long Beach, Calif., last month, finished sixth in qualifying Saturday.
Champ Car officials, who also overhauled qualifying rules before the start of the season, again tweaked them Saturday, saying that all starting positions for Sunday's race would be based on the times earned in Saturday's final poll time trial session. In the past, drivers who posted excellent times during Friday qualifying could sit out Saturday, allowing their early performance to determine their starting position race day.
Another new rule that took effect Saturday saw the one-hour qualifying period divided into three segments, 15 minutes of open practice, 10 minutes when the track was cleared, and 35 minutes of final time trials. The final segment was extended after two racing stoppages to ensure a full 35 minutes of driving under optimum conditions.
"When they came out with the new rules, the drivers told them it wasn't a good idea, but they didn't listen to us,'' Bruno Junqueira said. "It's frustrating and it makes it very confusing for the fans.''
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press