JUNQUEIRA SURVIVES MONTERREY HEAT TO WIN WITH LOLA MONTERREY, Mexico Bruno Junqueira avoided the carnage of a 76-lap scrimmage on the 2.104-mile Fundidora Park road course in this central Mexican town to take victory in the Tecate/Telmex ...
JUNQUEIRA SURVIVES MONTERREY HEAT TO WIN WITH LOLA
MONTERREY, Mexico Bruno Junqueira avoided the carnage of a 76-lap scrimmage on the 2.104-mile Fundidora Park road course in this central Mexican town to take victory in the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix Presented by Roshfrans today, leading nine laps in his #2 PacifiCare Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone Champ Car and emerging at the top of the point standings in the process, holding 59 points over teammate Sebastien Bourdais with 58.
"It's really hard to be mistake-free on a hot day like today and I think you saw drivers making mistakes they normally wouldn't make because of the heat," Junqueira admitted. Temperatures reached a scorching 112 degrees during the contest, which was slowed by nine caution flags for 32 laps. "My Lola was really good and I am very happy to get my first win of the season" in only the second of 14 contests.
Rookie Andrew Ranger was delighted to take the second podium step in his #27 Tide/Mi-Jack Lola after qualifying 14th. "It was a very tough day and a very tough race," the Canadian teenager admitted. "The Lola was fantastic and it is great for the team to have this performance today!" Ranger became the first Champ Car rookie to hold a podium spot in this difficult race.
Veteran Alex Tagliani earned a third-place finish with the #15 Team Australia Aussie Vineyards Lola and noted he is "just trying to get back to where I know I can be and where I have been in the past. We have to keep in mind this is our team's first year with the Lola and I feel really good about what we're doing."
Justin Wilson, fourth in the #9 SanDisk Lola summed up the contest: "It was a really bizarre race, while 2004 champion Bourdais was relieved to finish fifth with his #1 McDonald's Lola after an altercation with 2003 champ Paul Tracy. Bourdais set a new track record in qualifying and led 17 laps in the contest, looking for a third straight victory at this track. He was followed to the flags by 2001-2 Monterrey winner Cristiano da Matta in the #21 PKV Racing Lola. The 2002 champion "had a lot of fun out there today and passed a bunch of cars. Our team is getting much better," da Matta said.
The Champ Car World Series reconvenes in two weeks time at The Milwaukee Mile for the Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225, the first oval race of the season.