Mexico City, Mexico, October 12, 2003 Canada's Paul Tracy scored his seventh win of the season his fourth from the pole to extend his championship lead to 29 points over Bruno Junqueira with two races to go in the 2003 Champ Car World ...
Mexico City, Mexico, October 12, 2003 Canada's Paul Tracy scored his seventh win of the season his fourth from the pole to extend his championship lead to 29 points over Bruno Junqueira with two races to go in the 2003 Champ Car World Series.
Tracy faced constant pressure from Sebastien Bourdais following his second pit stop, but he never relinquished the top spot and took the checkered flag 1.782 second ahead of the Frenchman, who clinched the Rookie of the Year award with his runner-up position, and third-place finisher Mario Dominguez. Junqueira ended up in seventh place, collecting six points to bring his season total to 197.
"I had a perfect car today and I was able to pace myself," said Tracy, who moved into a tie for third place with Rick Mears on the all-time win list with his 26th career victory. Bruno had a good run on me at the start, but I was able to outbreak him at the first corner and I managed to pull away after that."
It was Tracy's second win of the year in Mexico, after claiming the second event of the season in Monterrey. Once again, Mexican fans showed their passion for racing as 175,000 spectators took in the action on race day at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, which culminated with four of their countrymen finishing in the Top-10.
"My crew did a great job in the pits all day and I knew I'd be OK if I stayed ahead of Sebastien (Bourdais), although it seemed that every time I had a bit of a lead, a yellow flag would come out and bring the field together again," added Tracy, who will try to tie the mark for most wins in a season held by Michael Andretti and Al Unser Jr. in two weeks on the streets of Surfers Paradise.
"I can't wait to get to Australia. Our goal is to go about things the same way we did this weekend in Mexico with the hopes of bringing the Vanderbilt Cup back to Canada."
Holding on to seventh place behind the wheel of an ill-handling car in the late stages of the race, Tracy's teammate Patrick Carpentier ran out of fuel and retired on lap 69. Despite finishing out of the points in 14th place, he remains fifth in the overall standings with 136 points.
"We struggled most of the day with a lack of grip and the car was pushing so much that it was destroying the front tires," said Carpentier, who tried valiantly to pass Bruno Junqueira to further help Tracy in his quest for the title. " I got close, but I couldn't pull it off. The engine was down on power and the car was jumping sideways in the corners. It's a shame to lose points like this."