Champ Car World Series driver Sebastien Bourdais made it two victories in a row Sunday when he drove to a virtual wire-to-wire victory in the inaugural Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose.
"The track is really challenging, but it might be the roughest one we have to be on, it's really demanding on the car", Bourdais said of the nine-turn 1.445 mile street circuit.
Paul Tracy finished in second place, and Oriol Servia brought it home another podium finish in third.
The battle between the Frenchman Bourdais and Canadian Tracy continued in San Jose, with the pair still fighting for the championship halfway through the season.
"We couldn't get close to Sebastien", Tracy said. "He only made one mistake in the hairpin when he went wide, but I wasn't close enough. It was a great day for San Jose and a great race."
Newman/Haas Racing again put two drivers on the podium. Servia, still filling in for injured driver Bruno Junqueira, came home in third for his fifth podium finish in six starts and fourth in succession. Justin Wilson finished fourth after excellent pit service on his final stop moved him up three spots. Tracy's teammate Mario Dominguez continued to improve his standing, garnering another strong finish in fifth.
On the first lap, there was a stack-up at the turn three hairpin. Ricardo Sperafico bumped into the back of Alex Tagliani and was unable to continue due to a broken suspension. There was a brief caution, but the leaders stayed on course.
By lap 10, Bourdais held a two-second lead over teammate Oriol Servia, followed by Paul Tracy, A. J. Allmendinger and Dominguez.
For the third event in a row, Allmendinger went wide in a corner and ran the right side of his car into a wall. The resulting suspension damage ended his weekend prematurely.
With two cars out of the race after only 12 laps, rookie Andrew Ranger found the same wall as Allmendinger. Ranger, a Canadian and rookie in the series, left several bits of carbon fiber in his wake, and Champ Car officials slowed the cars with caution to send out the jet blowers.
Tracy received great service from his Indeck-Forsythe crew and edged past Servia to pick up second place leaving the pits.
Upon re-start, Nelson Philippe, who was running a strong fifth, suddenly slowed with engine problems. After limping into the pits, he shut it down and climbed out of the car. Clearly at this point, the circuit was winning the attrition contest.
Dominguez moved up a spot at that point then began to real in the leaders, turning laps quicker than those in front of him. He was the fastest car on the circuit, and was catching the lead group at a second per lap.
Caution on the circuit slowed the cars a third time when Ryan Hunter-Reay spun into a runoff area. Hunter-Reay began the day from the back of the field when he drove into a runoff area on the warm-up lap prior to the start.
Rookie Ronnie Bremer assumed the lead due to his earlier stop on lap 3 when the leaders stopped for pit service. He held that spot for more than 10 laps before coming in for fuel. Bourdais regained the lead with Tracy right behind him with Servia, Dominguez and Wilson making up the top five.
Local favorite Jimmy Vasser, who had struggle most of the weekend, was in and out of the pits all day. After completing only 59 laps, the San Francisco native called it a day.
With just over 15 minutes to run, former Formula One driver and 2002 Champ Car champion Christiano da Matta damaged his suspension after wall contact in between turns four and five.
Half of the starting grid was out of the event now, and nine cars took the green flag following the da Matta incident. Prior to the re-start, British driver Justin Wilson had his front suspension cowl nearly ripped of by the force of wind from a jet dryer that was clearing debris on-course. Wilson managed to push the cover down and secure it from coming completely off.
Bourdais held his ground for the final laps, and maintained a four second lead on the final lap. The victory for Bourdais was his third of the season, 13th of his career and 8th win from pole. His lead over Tracy in the drivers' championship now stretches to 28 points; Wilson sits in third 41 points back.
"It was a difficult race for sure", commented Bourdais. "We were fighting very hard to keep the car between the walls, and keep PT (Paul Tracy) in our mirrors. And the Newman/Haas team did a great job with that today, and now we're back in form I think with the consistency we had last season."
The remainder of the top ten included Bjorn Wirdheim in eighth, Alex Tagliani, and a disappointed da Matta who failed to finish his fifth event in a row after winning in Portland earlier this season.
Retaining the lead in the Roshfrans Rookie Of The Year battles is German born Timo Glock. Glock's finish in sixth place gives him an eleven-point lead over Bremer for top rookie honors as the series heads to Denver on August 14.