TORONTO (AP) — Sebastien Bourdais won his first open-wheel pole since 2007 on Saturday, taking the top spot for the first IndyCar Series race of a doubleheader weekend at Toronto.
Bourdais’ lap of 58.9479 seconds (107.179 mph) on the 1.7-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place earned him his 32nd career pole. He won his first pole since Sept. 2, 2007, at Assen, Netherlands, driving for Champ Car. He’s now tied with Michael Andretti for eighth on the career open wheel poles list.
Will Power joins Bourdais on the front row for Saturday’s race. Points leader Helio Castroneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud and Tony Kanaan completed the top six.
Bourdais was second and third in Toronto last year, the start of six top-10 finishes over the final eight races for Dragon Racing. He has yet to make the podium in a disappointing first season driving for KVSH Racing.
“Nothing’s achieved right now, but we’ll take it and keep digging,” he said.
Bourdais won four consecutive Champ Car titles from 2004-07 and has 31 career victories. He is winless in 52 career IndyCar starts.
When he was handed his trophy for the runner-up finish last year in Toronto, the crystal was not properly attached to the base. He accepted it and prepared to raise it over his head, but it slipped to the ground, bounced once then shattered.
Bourdais is the 10th different pole winner in 13 races in 2014 and gave KVSH Racing its first pole since Kanaan at Las Vegas in 2011. Bourdais hasn’t won an open-wheel race since 2007.
“We keep on displaying pace and showing up at the front, so hopefully at some point it’s going to break and we’re going to make it,” Bourdais said.