This Week in Ford Racing March 18, 2003 CART Champ Car World Series FORD-COSWORTH PREPARE FOR THIRD RUN IN MONTERREY - Ford-Cosworth will take their new XFE engine to Fundidora Park for the first time. Ford-Cosworth's former powerplant, the...
This Week in Ford Racing
March 18, 2003
CART Champ Car World Series
FORD-COSWORTH PREPARE FOR THIRD RUN IN MONTERREY - Ford-Cosworth will take their new XFE engine to Fundidora Park for the first time. Ford-Cosworth's former powerplant, the XF, posted two fourth-place finishes in the Champ Car World Series' only previous visits to the Monterrey track.
CHAMP CAR DRIVERS RETURN HOME - Five drivers on the starting grid in Monterrey will be racing in front of a home crowd - Mario Dominguez (Mexico City), Andrian Fernandez (Mexico City), Roberto Gonzalez (Mante), Michel Jourdain, Jr. (Mexico City) and Rodolfo Lavin (San Luis Potosi). Rookies Lavin and Gonzalez will turn their first laps on the 2.1-mile road course in a Champ Car, while second-year driver, Dominguez looks to improve on his 17th place finish from a year ago. Champ Car veterans, Jourdain, who finished fourth last season in his Team Rahal debut, and Fernandez will make their third Champ Car start on the track at Fundidora Park.
NEW FACES - Nine rookies took the green flag at the season opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida, including polesitter Sabastian Bourdais, who became the first rookie since Nigel Mansell in 1993 to win the pole in his first race. Bourdais also became the first Champ Car driver in history to lead his very first lap of competition. Fellow rookie, Mario Haberfeld, who came to the Champ Car World Series after four seasons in F3000, posted a fourth-place finish in his first Champ Car effort. Ryan Hunter-Reay, a product of CART's ladder system, will make his second career Champ Car start this weekend in Monterrey following one year in Toyota Atlantic where he won three races and led a series-high 160 laps.
FORD-COSWORTH DRIVERS TO WATCH:
Sebastien Bourdais (R)- The former FIA International F3000 Champion has gotten off to a fast start in 2003, first posting some of the fastest times during pre-season testing and then qualifying on pole in the season opening race in St. Petersburg. After leading the first 30 laps, Bourdais' Champ Car debut ended early when a brush with the wall and a blown tire dropped him to an 11th -place finish.
Adrian Fernandez - Champ Car veteran started third in St. Petersburg but finished a disappointing 15th after making contact with Mario Dominguez. This weekend's race in Monterrey marks his 162nd career Champ Car start, which ranks 11th on CART's all-time career starts list. Enters his 11th season of Champ Car competition with seven career wins and three pole positions, including a pole at Monterrey a year ago. Only competing owner/driver in the series, he is the third-winningest driver in the Champ Car field.
Michel Jourdain, Jr. - Collected the second podium of his career with a career-best second place finish in St. Petersburg, which was his 18th points-paying result and 15th top-ten finish since joining Team Rahal in 2002. Started sixth in last year's Tecate Telmex Grand Prix where he posted a fourth place finish. Now in his eighth year of Champ Car competition, he became the youngest driver to ever to start a Champ Car event when he took the green flag in Long Beach at 19 years of age in 1996.
SPARK PLUGS - Paul Tracy's victory in St. Petersburg was his 20th career Champ Car win ... Tracy is the active leader in Champ Car victories ... Jourdain returns to Monterrey as the highest finisher from 2002 when he finished fourth.