Lausitz Eurospeedway, the first oval for the 2003 CART Champ Car World Series, saw a repeat winner for round five in the 2003 season. Sebastien Bourdais won on the mile oval in Germany, and the young Frenchman and Paul Tracy have now split all...
Lausitz Eurospeedway, the first oval for the 2003 CART Champ Car World Series, saw a repeat winner for round five in the 2003 season. Sebastien Bourdais won on the mile oval in Germany, and the young Frenchman and Paul Tracy have now split all five wins this year.
Bourdais had his first career victory at Brands Hatch, and has swept the pair of European races.
"I just have to say 'all right' and thanks from my team because they gave me a perfect car," commented the double Euro race winner Bourdais. "My Lilly car #2 was just exceptional today. I mean, we race fast all through the weekend, and it's the second win in a row, so what can I expect more?"
"I'm very happy - I had a lot of fun out there today. My pit crew did a great job all day," said Herdez Competition's driver Dominguez. "I have to give them a lot of credit - they were my guardian angels today. For sure, I had one of the best cars out there today."
Michel Jourdain finished on the podium in third, Bruno Junqueira was fourth with Oriol Servia rounding out the top five.
The start was remarkable, as Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier stormed in the first two to position nine and ten. But a gap of about five seconds had opened. The Players's driver tried to close the gap, but failed until a Full Course Yellow came up in lap 21. Before an eight car leading group had been gone away. This group was headed by the two Newman/Haas drivers who also tried to push themselves.
Moreno stopped as first and next lap the whole bunch of cars entered the pits. In the pits Rudolfo Lavin and Patrick Lemari? collided in a side-to- side-to-side incident that send Lemari? into the inside retaining wall. He was pinched with nowhere to go and suffered heavy-right suspension damage. Carpentier advanced to position five and Tracy to eight.
At the restart Dominguez overtook Bourdais and some laps later Oriol Servia also passed the young French driver. Alex Tagliani suffered a gearbox problem and had to retire after completing lap 28. Dominguez overtook the lead at lap 34. Now a bunch of four cars built a leading group, including both Newman/Haas drivers, Servia and Dominguez. They had amazing battles and Bourdais even left the track on the backstretch to drive over the grass.
"But I think we did such a great race with Mario [Dominguez]," stated race winner Bourdais. "We just had a very little struggle when he didn't really see me. I was just one wheel, and I went across the grass. I think that's why they penalized him."
The second round of pitstops didn't bring any changes in order among the leaders. But the leading group split, with Dominguez and Bourdais battling for the lead and Junqueira fighting against Servia for the last place on the podium.
Meanwhile championship leader Tracy fell back to 11th position, and was lapped on lap 77. The third round of pitstops, starting on lap 81, saw Dominguez stall his car and fall back to fourth, with Bourdais taking over the lead. Alex Yoong had to retire because of a mechanical problem.
On lap 84 debris was on the track and a full-course yellow had to be called. At this moment only eight drivers were on the lead lap. Jimmy Vasser, Carpentier, Tiago Monteiro and Mario Haberfeld gambled and stopped on lap 86.
Standings on lap 87: Bourdais, Servia, Junqueira, Dominguez, Jourdain, Manning, Carpentier and Vasser completed the leading eight.
After these pitstops, Bourdais, Jourdain and Dominguez were covered by just half of a second. Two seconds behind them were Junqueira and Servia.
Lap 137 turned out to be the critical one; third-placed Jourdain drove into the lead, followed by Dominguez and Jourdain. While lapping slower traffic, Dominguez was held up by Haberfeld and was passed by Bourdais. One lap later, the French rookie grabbed the lead.
Meanwhile Dominguez had also passed Jourdain and trailed the Frenchman by a few tenths of a second. The last ten laps Bourdais held the inside line and Dominguez could not force the pass. The two drivers battled hard but very fair for the lead and, in the end, Jourdain was third, only 0.246 seconds back.
Fourth was his team-mate Junqueira who now shares the series points lead with Tracy. He held Servia, by thirteen thousands of a second, back in fifth position came best Reynard-pilot Darren Manning. Carpentier, Vasser, Lavin and Moreno completed the Top Ten Positions. Tracy finished a disappointing twelfth.
Servia set the fastest race lap at 36.765 seconds on Lap 101.