Justin Wilson Captures his First Win of the Season at the Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix in Holland Great strategy, flawless pit work and a fine drive from Justin allowed him to claim his first victory and fourth podium finish of the 2007 ...
Justin Wilson Captures his First Win of the Season at the Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix in Holland
Great strategy, flawless pit work and a fine drive from Justin allowed him to claim his first victory and fourth podium finish of the 2007 Champ Car season. The result was all the more impressive considering the roller coaster ride of a weekend that Wilson and his #9/CDW/RuSPORT team had been through; the provisional pole on Friday, a perplexing lack of pace in final qualifying on Saturday and a gearbox problem which parked the car for the Sunday morning, pre-race warm-up. Winning in front of more than 61,000 crazed Dutch race fans at the TT Circuit Assen in Holland made his victory extra special.
"It's been fantastic to come back to Europe," said Justin. "The promoters for these two events have done a great job. I was saying to the guys in the garage before the race that the circuit is 2.8 miles long and the banking all around the track was full of fans. The crowd seemed as good, if not better, than any Formula 1 race I've been to."
In Sunday's 30-minute morning warm up before the race, Justin made only one lap around the circuit when an oil line ruptured, causing a loss of oil pressure in the gearbox and filling the underfloor of the car with oil.
"I was quite frustrated not being able to run the morning session," lamented Justin, "We were so far off the pace on Saturday and we made heaps of changes to the car overnight and were planning to use the warm up session to be sure we went the right direction on the changes. Once we found out what the problem was, it only took a few minutes to change the oil line, but the entire bottom of the car was floating in gearbox fluid and cleaning up that mess consumed the entire session." With no running time to confirm the changes, Justin and his team made the decision to continue on into the race.
Justin took full advantage of his front row starting position to get past polesitter Sebastien Bourdais at Turn 1 and quickly moved into the lead. From that point forward, the race played out through a game of cat and mouse with Bruno Junqueira in his #19/Sonny's Bar-B-Q/ Dale Coyne Racing car, who was on an alternative pit-stop strategy and an on-track battle with Jan Haylen in the #34/Grafiprint/Conquest Racing machine who relentlessly hounded Justin for much of the 69 lap race.
"It's a great result for the #9/CDW/RuSPORT team", smiled Justin. "I've got to thank the whole team -- they've done brilliantly and they deserve this win so much. The pit-stops were fantastic and my engineer, Mike Talbott, did a great job working out a set-up for the car with no running in the warm-up. It's nice to get the win for CDW and to do it in front of our partner guests here from Plantronics Europe."
Dan Pettit, RuSPORT Team Owner, commented, "We were a bit worried not running in the morning session, but Justin had a great car and the #9/CDW team did a spectacular job in the pits, executing flawless stops every time. This win has been a long time coming and very well deserved for Justin, CDW, all our partners and especially for the team who have worked so hard all year."
Fellow championship contenders Robert Doornbos and Will Power finished 13th and 14th respectively and current points leader, Sebastien Bourdais finished the race in an uncharacteristic seventh position allowing Justin to leapfrog from fourth in the Champ Car Vanderbilt Cup standings to second with two races remaining.