CHAMPCAR/CART: San Jose: Series race report

ROBERT DOORNBOS CRASHES AND PASSES HIS WAY TO SECOND CAREER WIN Dutch Driver Cuts Points Deficit to Sebastien Bourdais in Half SAN JOSE (July 29, 2007) -- Some had said the most important part of the San Jose Grand Prix at Redback Raceway...

ROBERT DOORNBOS CRASHES AND PASSES HIS WAY TO SECOND CAREER WIN
Dutch Driver Cuts Points Deficit to Sebastien Bourdais in Half

SAN JOSE (July 29, 2007) -- Some had said the most important part of the San Jose Grand Prix at Redback Raceway was Saturday qualifying, as the tight street circuit in the "Capital of Silicon Valley" had produced races with few passing opportunities. This year's edition proved them wrong though as Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) visited the winner's circle after starting shotgun on the field in the 15th spot.

After a flawless standing start, Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) took the lead into Turn 1, but made a mistake in Turn 2 allowing pole sitter Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) to get by and reassume the point. While that was going in the front, a log jam in the tight hairpin forced those at the back to slow dramatically. Unfortunately, Doornbos was unable to slow enough and the Dutchman deposited his front wing on the back of Jan Heylen's (#34 Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) machine forcing both of the European drivers to pit lane and bringing out a full course yellow.

As the field prepared to for the green flag, Dan Clarke (#4 Team Minardi USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) ran into the back of Wilson forcing them both to pit lane. Wilson would lose 20 laps repairing the suspension and drivetrain damage while Clarke would return to the track, only to make contact with Katherine Legge (#11 Dale Coyne Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and retire from the race. Just a few laps later, Legge would bring out the yellow flag after making contact with the Turn 2 wall, giving Doornbos a chance to alter his race strategy and pit out of sequence.

Back at the front, Oriol Servia (#7 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) assumed the lead with PKV Racing driver Neel Jani (#21 Red Bull-Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) in the second spot. The two would battle for the rest of the day with Jani passing for the lead in Turn 1 on lap 34. After a round of green flag pitstops, Servia chased Jani, and on two consecutive laps made a move in Turn 1, nosing ahead but Jani held his ground and repassed Servia on the exit of the hairpin. On their next trip through the corner, Servia made the same move, but made it stick to grab the lead once again.

With everyone watching the battle up front, Doornbos used his light fuel load to run fast laps and gain ground. When he had to duck into pit lane under green, the Dutchman was able to rejoin the field in third. He was now set to finish the race on one more pit stop, and a timely yellow on lap 76 got him back in sequence when everyone came to pit lane for the final time.

Doornbos' Minardi Team USA crew got him out first followed by Jani and Servia. On the restart, Jani used his Cosworth Power-to-Pass to go by Doornbos in the first corner. Unfortunately for Jani, his PKV Racing team decided to use the red Bridgestone Alternate tires. Though the softer compound tires meant some quicker lap times, their longevity was unable to sustain the final 25-lap run. Just halfway into the run, Doornbos used his final two seconds of Power-to-Pass to get back by Jani in Turn 1.

Doornbos then drove away building a six-second lead over Jani. With the win, the leading rookie closed his gap in the Series standings to just 10 points behind Bourdais. The Swiss rookie, Jani, spent the final laps holding off Servia with the two drivers claiming the second and third positions.

Team Australia's Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) finished fourth, gaining two championship points on Series leader Bourdais, who battled his car all race but drove to a fifth place finish. Coming home sixth was 18-year-old Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who overcame a stall in pit lane on his first stop.

Dale Coyne Racing's Bruno Junqueira (#19 Sonny's Bar-B-Q Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) finished seventh with Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay By Touch-Megaspiera Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) eighth. Heylen earned his best finish of the season with his ninth place result for Conquest Racing and Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) finished tenth.

Next up for the competitors in the Champ Car World Series is the Generac Champ Car Grand Prix at the famous Road America road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The event begins on Friday, August 10 with practice and qualifying. The race will begin at 2 p.m. local (3 pm ET) on Sunday, August 12. The race can be seen live on ABC. Fans can also follow all of the action via the official website of the Champ Car World Series, www.champcar.ws.

QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE FINISHERS

Robert Doornbos: "It's a great way to feel after such a difficult weekend. It's just a great way to finish the week. We hope to continue the rest of the season like this. It's a big motivation boost for everybody. So thanks a lot to the team."

Neel Jani "I'm disappointed after leading so many laps. I was hoping to finish it off and get my first win. But, well, next time we know we should put the black tires on the Red Bull-Gulfstream car."

Oriol Servia: "Today we had a problem with the air gun and we lost two spots in the pits at the end. It hurts because it was the win, but last week at Edmonton, the Forsythe guys made up a lot of spots on pit lane. Anyway, Neel and Robert, they were both very strong."

-credit: ccws

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series INDYCAR