CHAMPCAR/CART: St. Pete: Team Rahal race report

Jourdain takes second at St. Petersburg. ST. PETESBURG, FL. . . Team Rahal's Gigante driver Michel Jourdain Jr. posted a career best second place finish with a strong drive in the 2003 Champ Car World Series season opener , the Grand Prix of St.

Jourdain takes second at St. Petersburg.

ST. PETESBURG, FL. . . Team Rahal's Gigante driver Michel Jourdain Jr. posted a career best second place finish with a strong drive in the 2003 Champ Car World Series season opener , the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Jourdain, starting his second season with Team Rahal, started fifth and ran a mistake free race moving through the field and finishing as the runner-up to race winner Paul Tracy.

"It was a very long race and the track changed a lot during the race to the point where it got extremely slippery," said Jourdain. It got to the point where it was hard to keep the car on the track and it was very easy to make a mistake and therefore there were a lot of yellows today. On the last restart I made a couple of mistakes and that really let Paul [Tracy] pull away and it let Bruno [Junqueira] close the gap on me. I am very happy. We had a good car all weekend. We came out of the qualifying nightmare and started fifth and I still feel we could have been a couple of places better, but what matters is the race and it is great for us to get a start like this, especially going into Monterrey. I love that track and the Mexican fans are so great so hopefully we can carry this momentum to Mexico."

In just his 20th start for Team Rahal the 26-year-old native of Mexico City collected his second career podium and his first for Team Rahal and sponsor Gigante. St. Petersburg was his 18th points paying result and 15th top-ten result since joining Team Rahal.

"I am very proud of this team and especially Michel," said Bobby Rahal, three-time series champion and Team Rahal owner. "This group has worked very hard and they came here with something to prove. Michel drove an intelligent and mistake free race and he answered the challenges when they were presented." The day nearly ended on lap one for Jourdain. The Gigante car was nearly clipped by Bruno Junqueira who was attempting to pass a blocking maneuver by Mario Haberfield at the exit of the high speed front straight.

Jourdain was aided by strong pit stops by the Gigante crew. Comprised primarily of the crew members that made up the 2002 Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge champions, the crew turned in three quick pit stops and helped Jourdain claim his second career podium.

Jourdain is second in the Bridgestone presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford championship with 16 points, trailing points leader Tracy by five points. Next up for the Champ Car World Series is the Grand Prix of Monterrey, Mexico. Last season Jourdain made his Team Rahal debut at Monterrey and he collected a then career best street course finish of fourth place.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Bobby Rahal , Paul Tracy , Michel Jourdain