Champ Car titlist Sebastien Bourdais Only Driver From U.S.-Based Series to Score Round Win in Race of Champions.
INDIANAPOLIS (December 6, 2004) -- After a year of globe-hopping that resulted in his first Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford title, Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) got to go home to do some racing for a change last week.
Bourdais joined 15 drivers from some of the world's top racing series in the Race of Champions in Paris over the weekend, running in front of his countrymen against top-level competition such as seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher and World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb. The competition took place in the Stade de France, on an asphalt rally-style track where drivers went head-to-head with the winner moving on in the tournament format.
Bourdais was the only driver from a U.S.-based series to win a round in the Race of Champions, beating former IRL and Champ Car driver Kenny Brack by 15.1 seconds in their first round matchup. Bourdais' first-round time of 1:43.95 was the second-fastest of the entire round, but earned him a spot in the quarterfinals against the only driver to post a faster time in the first round -- the vaunted Schumacher. Neither driver was able to duplicate their first-round efforts and Bourdais fell to the Ferrari ace by 3.2 seconds.
The 2004 Champ Car titlist also competed in the Nation's Cup event on the next day with Stephane Sarrazin on the Playstation France team. The event took place on the same track as the previous day's Race of Champions, but the Bourdais/Sarrazin team fell to their countrymen Jean Alesi and WRC champ Loeb, who went on to win the Nation's Cup.
The Champ Car title winner also finished second for the second consecutive time in voting for the SPEED Channel Driver of the Quarter. Bourdais finished second in the overall voting to NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson, making it a clean sweep as NASCAR drivers won the voting by a panel of credentialed media in each of the four quarters of 2004.
Bourdais clinched his first Champ Car title during the fourth quarter of 2004, winning the championship in dramatic fashion in Mexico City, rebounding from a spin to claim the victory. Bourdais led the Champ Car World Series in wins, poles, laps led and qualifying average in 2004.