PACIFICARE DRIVER SERVIA EARNED HIS FIRST CHAMP CAR WIN IN TODAY'S MOLSON INDY MONTREAL; McDONALD'S DRIVER BOURDAIS LOST LEAD AFTER A PIT PROBLEM ON HIS LAST STOP AND ULTIMATELY FINISHED FOURTH - PacifiCare driver Oriol Servia earned his first...
PACIFICARE DRIVER SERVIA EARNED HIS FIRST CHAMP CAR WIN IN TODAY'S MOLSON INDY MONTREAL; McDONALD'S DRIVER BOURDAIS LOST LEAD AFTER A PIT PROBLEM ON HIS LAST STOP AND ULTIMATELY FINISHED FOURTH
- PacifiCare driver Oriol Servia earned his first Champ Car win in today's 79-lap Molson Indy Montreal on the 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after he stayed in contention in the top three the entire race and led one lap, the 79th and final one en route to victory. With his win in his 95th Champ Car start he passed Paul Tracy for second place in the championship point standings and became the sixth different driver to win this season. Although he is the fourth different winner in as many races in Montreal, he put PacifiCare in Winner's Circle for the second consecutive time after Bruno Junqueira drove to victory here last year. Servia matched his best series start of second place and took the green flag from honorary flagman Junqueira. He held second place through the start and was approximately .6-seconds ahead of Justin Wilson until the Englishman utilized his Push to Pass to take over second place on Lap 13. After a few laps the PacifiCare team instructed him to begin saving more fuel and he made his first pit stop on Lap 20 and returned to the race in third place. Fourth place A.J. Allmendinger had been closing on Servia and used his Push to Pass on Lap 32 to pull alongside and temporarily ahead of Servia before the Spaniard regained third. He made his second stop on Lap 40 and returned to third once the pit cycle was complete. By Lap 44 he had built a four second lead over fourth place Paul Tracy and trailed second place Wilson by five seconds while conserving fuel. On Lap 58 the first caution flag of the day came out when Ricardo Sperafico suffered a rear wing failure on the final straight and made contact with the wall. The field bunched up and made their final stops on Lap 60. Servia returned to the track in fourth place behind new leader Timo Glock who pitted while 10th before the caution and gained the most from the timing of the yellow. Previous race leader Bourdais had a pit problem and lost four places and was a couple of positions behind Servia. Leader Glock was followed by Allmendinger who was in fifth place when he hit debris from Sperafico's rear wing and suffered a cut tire and had to enter the closed pits which moved him into second. Once he received a penalty for this action, Servia moved into third place behind Wilson. On the restart on Lap 63 Servia began pressuring Wilson and made a pass on him on Lap 64 for second place when the Brit made a mistake and missed the chicane. He was then within .4 seconds of leader Glock and looking for an opportunity to use his remaining 40 seconds of Push to Pass to overtake the German who had only one second left. On Lap 66 the second and final caution period came out for debris which lasted two laps. Servia held his position on the restart and began to close on Glock and on Lap 70 tried to pass him in the chicane but Glock shortcut the turn to retain his position. Champ Car officials gave Glock's team a warning against the action but when Servia attempted to pass again in the chicane on Lap 76 Glock repeated the move when Servia pulled alongside and slightly ahead. The following lap Glock was assessed a penalty and told to allow Servia to pass him. Servia held the lead through the final lap and took the checkered flag one second ahead. He collected 31 points for the win and one for leading the race to move him into second place ahead of Paul Tracy, who finished eighth after a pit problem. Following are his post race comments
"It feels awesome," said Servia. "I'm not going to mention how many times I thought I deserved the win, blah, blah, blah, because the list is so long. But it happened today. It happened because of Bruno's accident, which is something none of us wanted. But, you know, I was really happy they decided I was the one to go in the car. I know Bruno was really happy they choose me. Since day one, the team has shown great, great support for me, all the guys in the crew, all the owners, and PacifiCare. It just feels extremely good to be able to show them that they did the right choice trusting me. I'm really, really glad I'm able to give them this win. I hope first of many. Every race you think is going to end up like this. We were getting closer and closer, and I knew it was going to happen eventually. I'm just really glad it happened so I don't have to answer the question again, 'When is going to be the first one?' I knew all weekend we were faster than Glock so I was pushing him very hard, hoping he would make some mistakes. I had to brake really late going into the chicane and he kept going through the runoff, and by the rules you cannot do that."
- McDonald's driver Sebastien Bourdais led the first 59 laps in today's 79-lap Molson Indy Montreal and looked likely to match a series record fourth consecutive victory until trouble on his final pit stop took him out of the lead. He had recovered a few places and was in third until Justin Wilson passed him and he ultimately finished fourth but increased his pre-race points lead from 53 over Paul Tracy to 61 over new second place holder Oriol Servia who won his first Champ Car race. Bourdais started on pole and took the green flag from teammate Bruno Junqueira, who won the event in 2004. He held the position and reported to the crew that the car was perfect on Lap 12 after having built a one second lead over second place Servia. He held the lead through his first pit stop on Lap 20 and set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 40 before he made his second stop on Lap 41. Prior to his stop he had built a four second lead on current second place runner Wilson which he extended to a comfortable 5.2 seconds before the first caution period of the day came out on Lap 58 when Ricardo Sperafico suffered a rear wing failure on the final straight and made contact with the wall. Bourdais lead was erased and the field bunched up for one lap before the pits opened and the frontrunners made their final stops on Lap 60. The inside rear tire changer lost the nut for the wheel and the stop took longer than usual and two cars left the pits ahead of Bourdais who was behind new leader Timo Glock who pitted from his 10th place position on Lap 56 before the caution came out and gained the most from the timing of the yellow. He moved into fourth place once A.J. Allmendinger, who was previously in fifth place when he hit debris from Sperafico's rear wing and suffered a cut tire and had to enter the closed pits, was penalized for the action. The race was restarted on Lap 63 and on Lap 64 both Servia and Bourdais were able to pass Wilson when he made a mistake and missed the chicane. On Lap 70, Bourdais dropped to fourth place when Wilson passed him and he held the position until the checkered flag after 79 laps. He earned 23 points for fourth place, one for leading and one for setting the fastest race lap for a total of 276. He currently has 61 more than second place Oriol Servia (215) and 65 over third place Paul Tracy (211). Following are his post race comments.
"It was the perfect race until the yellow flag," said Bourdais. "We happened to put the new sets of tires on back-to-back-to-back and we had a set of tires on at the end that had only six or seven laps on them so we should have been looking good but the bad pit stop just killed us. There is nothing to say, the boys are trying hard and sometimes a bit too hard and a small mistake happens. We still increased our lead on PT (Paul Tracy) and Oriol won the race so it is good for Newman/Haas Racing."
- Up Next...The Champ Car Grand Prix of Las Vegas, Round 11 of 14, will take place on September 24. Bourdais and Junqueira provided fans with an exciting wheel-to-wheel battle in 2004 to finish one-two respectively. During the break, both Bourdais and Servia will test and Bourdais will compete in the Round 3 of 4 in the Crown Royal IROC Series at Richmond, Virginia on September 8. After his win in Round 2 in Texas, Bourdais is ranked second of 12 drivers vying for the $1 million prize.