CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Newman/Haas Racing race report

McDONALD'S DRIVER BOURDAIS AND PACIFICARE DRIVER SERVIA BROUGHT TEAM SECOND 1-2 FINISH IN TEAM'S HISTORY SERVIA LOST PODIUM FINISH DUE TO FUEL PRESSURE PROBLEM IN THE GRAN PREMIO TELMEX/TECATE; BOURDAIS BATTLED ELECTRICAL PROBLEM...

McDONALD'S DRIVER BOURDAIS AND PACIFICARE DRIVER SERVIA BROUGHT TEAM SECOND 1-2 FINISH IN TEAM'S HISTORY

SERVIA LOST PODIUM FINISH DUE TO FUEL PRESSURE PROBLEM IN THE GRAN PREMIO TELMEX/TECATE; BOURDAIS BATTLED ELECTRICAL PROBLEM BEFORE RETIRING AFTER CONTACT WITH DA MATTA

- PacifiCare driver Oriol Servia was in sight of earning another podium finish to close the season in today's 70-lap Gran Premio Telmex/Tecate but a fuel pressure problem limited him to a fourth place finish. He entered the event only needing to take the green flag in order to secure second place in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford standings and bring Newman/Haas Racing a 1-2 finish for only the second time in their 23 year history but a podium finish would have been a fine ending to a season that saw his first win in Montreal and first pole in Australia. He was in third place immediately prior to his second and final pit stop when he informed the PacifiCare team that he was running out of fuel. They called him into the pits two laps early and he dropped to eight place but recovered to fourth after the other drivers made their stops. He held fourth place behind leader Justin Wilson, A.J. Allmendinger and Timo Glock prior to the third and final restart from a caution period and was passed by Paul Tracy while trying to pass Glock and retained fourth. On the final lap he radio'd the crew that he was again running out of fuel but was fortunately able to make it to the checkered flag and finish fourth. He earned a total of 288 points during the season and earned seven podium finishes and 10 top-five finishes in 11 races for the team.

"We had to pit two laps early for the first stop because we had a fuel pressure problem," said Servia. "It's a shame because we were in third place and I thought I could bring the PacifiCare team another podium finish to end the season but it was not meant to be. We were running well but when we got low on fuel the car lost fuel pressure and we had to pit early each time. Actually on the last lap I ran out of fuel and was hoping to get to the checkered flag and keep the fourth place. It was not running well but it was good enough to get to the end. The car was fine on the last restart. I knew Glock (ahead) didn't have any Push to Pass left and I knew Tracy (behind him) had five shots when I had only three. I was hoping I was going to happen is that Glock had a good exit out of the corner so I could get his tow then pass him with the Push To Pass towards the end of the straight but Glock almost lost the car so he had a bad exit of the corner so I had to pull alongside of him at the beginning of the straight which gave two perfect tows to PT and he passed me by Start / Finish. Then I was really close to Tracy on the last lap. He was pushing hard and making little mistakes. It's a shame how it ended but nice to finish fourth given the problem. This season was incredible; just the difference between the way it started and the way it finished. I'm pleased to finish second in the championship; it's a big achievement for me and for the PacifiCare team too."

- McDonald's driver Sebastien Bourdais was unable to challenge for his seventh win of the season in today's Gran Premio Telmex/Tecate season-finale after struggling with an engine control unit (ECU) problem. He started in third place but moved alongside second place A.J. Allmendinger on Lap 17 although he was unable to complete the pass. Soon thereafter he began struggling to maintain an acceptable fuel mileage due to the ECU problem that became evident prior to a caution flag coming out for Ronnie Bremer who crashed on Lap 20. Under caution before his first of two scheduled pit stops, Bourdais tried to reset the ECU by switching off the component and turning it back on. The effort didn't result in a change and Bourdais entered pit lane for his stop. He slid into the pit box and bumped fueler Brian Hannon and inside front tire changer Norm Hornitschek although they were uninjured. The stop took longer than usual as the McDonald's car was positioned too close to the pit wall to change the tire. The car was moved and restarted and returned to the track as the last running car. Because of their position the team elected to return to the pits to change the ECU. Despite having to remove the sidepod and make the change they were able to get Bourdais back on track on the lead lap. Two laps later they retuned to the pits to top off the fuel before the race returned to green conditions on Lap 27. Bourdais steadily moved up from 15th place and was in seventh when the next round of pit stops began taking place. He had moved into third before he made his final stop on Lap 50. He returned to the track in seventh place and held the position until he moved into sixth when previous third place runner Mario Dominguez dropped to the back of the field after contact while fourth place runner Glock attempted a pass and the two made contact. A few laps later on Lap 62 of 70, he was less than 3/10ths of a second behind da Matta, whom he been trying to pass, when da Matta locked up his wheels and spun and Bourdais made contact with him and both cars landing in the gravel trap. During the full course caution, da Matta was restarted but Bourdais' car had to be removed from the area and he ultimately retired in 17th place. During the season, he earned five poles, six wins and 11 top-five finishes in 13 races for a total of 348 points to earn his first back-to-back Champ Car championships for both himself and the team.

"It was a good season overall for the McDonald's team and we had finished every race until this one," said Bourdais. "It would have been good to keep this going. I'm not sure what the exact problem was but we had a big fuel consumption problem. We had an issue with the engine; we were maintaining the mileage but it was really difficult because we had to apply the correction. All of a sudden we went from 2.18 mpg to 2.05, 2.0 and 1.70, 1.65 and then I thought we would have to make five pit stops during the race instead of two. I lost my temper and when I came into the pits I knew we would have to put more fuel than everybody else and were going to lose three or four spots so I tried to brake late and hit everybody (fueler Brian Hannon and tire changer Norm Hornitschek). We changed the ECU (engine control unit) and the car was better. After that I went through the field pretty well and was in a decent spot and would have ended up with a top-five finish. I'm not totally sure what happened with da Matta. Both da Matta and I braked late but he spun around in front of me and I had to brake even harder and we got together because there was no where for me to go. It's a shame we had to finish like that. PT (Paul Tracy) at the start didn't give me much room and I barely touched his right rear tire and that's why he had the puncture. That was a pretty messed up race. We were not going to win it; we had two fast cars in front of us (RuSport). I think we had a pretty good car but we would have needed a completely trouble free race to have a chance. It was going to be tough to get ahead of the two RuSport cars but at the end of the day you never know what is going to happen. I just wanted to finish well."

- Overall Stats for Newman/Haas Racing...In total the team earned eight wins (Bourdais -- 6, Junqueira -- 1, Servia -- 1), six poles (Bourdais -- 5, Servia -- 1) and 16 podium finishes (Bourdais -- 7, Junqueira - 2, Servia - 7) en route to their second 1-2 finish in their 23 year history and sixth overall.J

- Surpassed Marlboro Team Penske for Wins During Same Period in 2005...NHR is the second most successful open-wheel racing team competing today. Marlboro Team Penske (MTP) has earned 124 open-wheel wins and completed their 38th season while NHR has earned 90 and completed their 23rd. During the years that NHR has been in existence (1983-current) MTP has earned 85 while NHR has earned 90 wins (MTP's most recent was in Milwaukee on 7-24-05). Perhaps the most impressive detail however is the fact that NHR ran only one driver it's first six seasons (Mario Andretti) while MTP ran two-to-three drivers per season. From 1989 to present, NHR has been a two-car team while MTP expanded from a two car team to run three cars for three of those seasons.

-nhr-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Mario Andretti , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Ronnie Bremer , Timo Glock
Teams Team Penske