CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Series race report

Sebastien Bourdais Wraps Up Champ Car Career in Mexico City With 31st Career Victory Frenchman Moves Into Sixth-Place Tie on All-Time Champ Car Win List MEXICO CITY, Mexico (November 11, 2007) -- It was a fitting end to a remarkable Champ Car ...

Sebastien Bourdais Wraps Up Champ Car Career in Mexico City With 31st Career Victory
Frenchman Moves Into Sixth-Place Tie on All-Time Champ Car Win List

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (November 11, 2007) -- It was a fitting end to a remarkable Champ Car World Series career for four-time series champion Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), as the Frenchman claimed his eighth victory of the season and the 31st of his Champ Car career in the Gran Premio Tecate presented by Banamex at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Despite the fact that he was penalized 22 seconds off his originally-allotted 75 seconds of Power To Pass for an infraction during the Sunday morning standing start practice session, Bourdais started second and calmly stalked polesitter and race leader Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) through the early stages of the race. He made his move on the Australian rising star on Lap 24, taking advantage of his Power To Pass to sweep into the lead in Turn 1. The quadruple Champ Car champion retained the lead through both rounds of pit stops with customary outstanding service from his Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing crew, while a late full-course caution period for debris in Turn 4 did nothing but reduce Bourdais' margin of victory. Bourdais was never challenged and crossed the stripe 1.906 seconds ahead of Power to claim the victory.

The eight victories for Bourdais this season was a personal best, topping the 2004 and 2006 championship-winning seasons in which he earned seven wins in each season. It also moved him into a tie for fourth place on the all-time list of Champ Car victories in a single season. It was Bourdais' third victory in five career starts at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and he has finished inside the top two in four of his five career starts at the venue. He is now tied with Al Unser Jr. and Paul Tracy (#3 INDECK Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) for sixth place on the all-time Champ Car victory list with 31.

Bourdais clinched his unprecedented fourth Vanderbilt Cup in the penultimate round of the 2007 season at Surfers Paradise and closed out the year--and his Champ Car career--with a total of 364 points. He finished 83 points ahead of Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), 364-281, and departs Mexico City on Sunday evening for a test session in Barcelona with Scuderia Toro Rosso, for whom he will drive in Formula 1 in 2008.

Power wrapped up a breakthrough Champ Car season with a second-place result, his best result since a victory in Round 7 at Toronto. It was the Team Australia driver's fifth podium result of the season, in which he also claimed his first career Champ Car victory in the Las Vegas season-opener. Power finished the year fourth in the championship standings, two positions better than his previous career-best points result of sixth, which he achieved in 2006.

Although he stalled his car on the race's standing start and fell to the rear of the field, Oriol Servia (#22 Pay By Touch Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) capped a season that he began without a ride by charging to his third podium result of the season with a third-place performance in Mexico City. Servia did not join the series until Round 2 at Long Beach--where he substituted for an injured Tracy at Forsythe Championship Racing--and moved from FCR to PKV Racing prior to Round 13 at Surfers Paradise. His showing in Mexico City allowed him to move from ninth entering the race to sixth in the final point standings.

American rookie Graham Rahal (#2 MEDI|ZONE Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) secured fifth place in the final Champ Car World Series point standings with a fourth-place performance in the Gran Premio Tecate presented by Banamex. Like Bourdais, Rahal was also docked 22 seconds of Power To Pass for the same infraction in standing start practice, but he too overcame the penalty to earn his fifth top-five result of the season. The fourth-place run was Rahal's best since finishing third three races ago in Zolder.

Rounding out the top five was Tracy, who had by far his best permanent road course performance of the season at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. The Canadian missed Rounds 2 and 3 at Long Beach and Houston due to an injury he sustained in practice at Long Beach and recorded his seventh top-10 result in 12 starts this season. Despite missing two races, he wound up the year 11th in the championship standings.

Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) finished sixth in the race and eighth in the championship to complete his rookie Champ Car season, while Bruno Junqueira (#19 Sonny's Bar-B-Q Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) finished seventh to equal his position in the final championship standings. Mexico City native Mario Dominguez (#28 Tecate Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) wound up eighth in the Pacific Coast Motorsports machine after being penalized one position for crossing the line at the exit to Turn 17 multiple times. Nevertheless, Dominguez still earned the bonus point for improving the most positions from start to finish. PKV Racing's Neel Jani (#21 Red Bull-Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) finished ninth and Wilson--who suffered mechanical problems after running the early portion of the race inside the top five--completed the top 10.

NOTEBOOK

* With an 11th-place performance in the Gran Premio Tecate presented by Banamex, American Alex Figge (#29 Pacific Coast Motorsports) had his best result since finishing eighth in the season-opener at Las Vegas. It was the final race of Figge's rookie campaign in the Champ Car World Series.

* Mexican rookie David Martinez (#7 INDECK Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) finished 14th in his second Champ Car start of the season and the third of his career. The Monterrey, Mexico native finished ninth in his Champ Car debut at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez last year, and finished 10th in Surfers Paradise three weeks ago. Martinez recorded the second-fastest lap in the race at 1:26.006 (116.113 mph).

* Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) had a mechanical failure and completed just 12 laps in the Gran Premio Tecate presented by Banamex. Nevertheless, Doornbos still earned a bonus point for running the fastest lap in the race at 1:24.713 (117.885 mph) and managed to hold off Power for third in the final point standings.

* The Gran Premio Tecate presented by Banamex was slowed by full-course caution flags only twice for a total of eight laps. The first was at the start, when the cars of Servia, Conquest Racing's Nelson Philippe (#34 Juniper Soul Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Alex Tagliani (#8 PBS Equities Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) of Rocketsports stalled when the lights went out for the standing start. Under the first full-course caution, Dan Clarke (#4 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) also pulled-off with a mechanical failure. The second full-course caution came on Lap 55 of the 64-lap race, when a front wing endplate was found in the racing line at Turn 4. Under that full-course caution, Katherine Legge (#11 Dale Coyne Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) also retired with a mechanical failure.

QUOTES FROM THE TOP-THREE FINISHERS IN THE GRAN PREMIO TELMEX PRESENTED BY BANAMEX FOLLOW BELOW:

Sebastien Bourdais #1 McDonalds Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone (Finished 1st) -- You know, we tried to do the best we could to stop the pressure from building around us, but there was just no way out. Everybody was really emotional today, and I was, too. I had to leave a couple of times before jumping in the McDonald's car. I couldn't hold it. It was really, really strange just to finally realize that it was going to be the last time. When I closed the visor it was all business. I knew it wasn't going to be easy because the Push-to-Pass and the fact that it increased the importance of it this weekend, it was going to be super hard. We just had the better car and the team once again just pulled it off. We had a good start and great strategy and great speed, and that's what it's all about."

Will Power #5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone (Finished 2nd) -- "It would have been nice to win the last race of the season, considering we had pretty good pace in qualifying. The car was a little bit too loose coming down the straight. But as the season goes, we've had the pace all year, we've just had really bad luck in the races with mechanical failure and a couple other things. I think that we'll be strong next year. I think we learned a lot in how to win a championship this year and what not to do. I look forward to it, good result the last race. It's about time we finished on the podium. Yeah, looking forward to next year.

Oriol Servia #22 Pay by Touch MegaSpirea Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone (Finished 3rd) -- "We were there, and it wouldn't go in gear. Stayed in neutral, neutral, neutral, and when it finally went in gear the engine died, even before I tried to clutch it. It was a little bit of a bad start, but Jimmy came in the radio and said, listen, these are longer races than what we had over the weekend, and he was there every lap with me and was pushing me, was telling me where everybody else was. At the last call we were both talking about the blacks or reds, and we both decided reds, and it was the right call. It just feels good when you're able to work together as a team and you're able to support each other like that. Obviously the last race I came in sixth or seventh and we were able to pass Paul and Pagenaud in the last three laps, and it was fantastic."

-credit: ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Al Unser Jr. , Bruno Junqueira , Alex Tagliani , Oriol Servia , Graham Rahal , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos , Alex Figge , David Martinez , Nelson Philippe , Neel Jani , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud , Dale Coyne , Dan Clarke
Teams Toro Rosso , Conquest Racing , Dale Coyne Racing