JUSTIN WILSON BECOMES NEWEST DRIVER TO JOIN LIST OF CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES RACE WINNERS WITH VICTORY IN EXCITING MOLSON INDY TORONTO TORONTO (July 10, 2005) -- Toronto was not featured in Charles Dickens' novel A Tale of Two Cities, but the ...
JUSTIN WILSON BECOMES NEWEST DRIVER TO JOIN LIST OF CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES RACE WINNERS WITH VICTORY IN EXCITING MOLSON INDY TORONTO
TORONTO (July 10, 2005) -- Toronto was not featured in Charles Dickens' novel A Tale of Two Cities, but the Canadian city did host a rousing production of A Tale of Two Races on Sunday as Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) powered through a rough-and-tumble late-race stretch to score the first victory of his Champ Car career.
Wilson made a strong pass on the inside of Turn Three to get around Oriol Servia (#2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) to wrest the lead from the Newman/Haas Racing driver, then snapped off the two fastest laps of the race to pull away. The tall Brit found the road to victory easier once he took the lead as a late-race crash involving teammate A.J. Allmendinger (#10 Western Union Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Mario Dominguez (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) meant that the race would end under caution, leaving the RuSPORT team to celebrate its first Champ Car win as Wilson had to race only the pace car to the checkered flag.
The beginning of the race belied the competitive nature that would bubble up later in the day as polesitter Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) roared away from fellow front-row starter Paul Tracy (#3 Mountain Grand Lodge/Avalanche Bay Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) at the start and led the first 34 laps ahead of Tracy, Wilson, Servia and Alex Tagliani (#15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone).
The first hint of the fun that lay ahead came at the beginning of Lap 35 as Bourdais and Tracy drag-raced out of the pits after their first round of fuel stops. Tracy's team short-fueled him -- a move that would later come back to haunt -- getting him off the line slightly ahead of Bourdais despite the fact that Bourdais had reached Pit Lane first. The two came out side-by-side with Bourdais pulling slightly ahead on the outside of the lane. However, Bourdais had to get over to his right to keep in contact with the blend line or risk a penalty, and when he pulled over to keep in contact with the line, his right-rear wheel his Tracy's front wing, breaking it in half.
Bourdais suffered an immediate puncture of the tire, dropping him to 10th in the standings, while Tracy decided to soldier on with his broken front wing. The race-day crowd of over 71,000 roared its approval as Tracy took over the lead and continued lapping with the broken wing, actually running times after the incident that were faster than those put up with the full nose assembly. He led by 12 seconds over Servia, who began reeling in the leader as the second set of stops approached.
Tracy calmly led the next 22 laps as Servia closed the gap to six seconds while Wilson, Tagliani and Allmendinger gave chase, never realizing that the Sword of Damocles was hanging over the entire race, just waiting for the right time to fall and create chaos.
The change came on Lap 57 when Ricardo Sperafico (#11 Sonny's Real Pit BBQ Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Cristiano da Matta (#21 Bell Micro Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) tangled in Turn One. The caution flag came out just as Tracy was considering rolling down Pit Lane for a splash of fuel, forcing the pits to be closed before the Forsythe Championship Racing car reached the entrance. Tracy stayed out on course, oblivious to the fact -- as was his team -- that he would run out of fuel less than 200 yards later. Tracy coasted to a stop at the end of Pit Lane, too far down to go back into the pits for fuel, ending his day after 57 laps.
Newman/Haas Racing's Servia took the point upon Tracy's untimely demise, but had to be content with driving at 60 mph for much of that time as restart accidents involving first Bjorn Wirdheim (#4 HVM Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), then Nelson Philippe (#34 Wellbox Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), Marcus Marshall (#5 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Timo Glock (#8 DHL Global Mail Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone).
Servia was equal to the task when racing restarted in earnest, holding off the strong advances of Wilson for the next five laps. The former Formula 1 driver kept the pressure on however, eventually snaring the lead with a pass inside of Turn Three. Once clear of Servia, Wilson carded a pair of the day's quickest laps while his RuSPORT teammate Allmendinger closed in, threatening a 1-2 team sweep.
Allmendinger, who had ripped third from Tagliani with a strong pass in Turn Three, closed on Servia and challenged for the runner-up spot before contact with the Turn Four wall triggered a crash. Allmendinger brushed the inside of the Turn Four wall, which directed him into the Turn Five tire barrier and leaving him crossways in the track. He was then his by Dominguez, who did a great job of sliding his car and avoiding what could have been a serious collision with the stricken RuSPORT car.
The accident left the track littered with carbon fiber and forced the race to end under caution, leaving Wilson to follow the pace car for the final six laps. The result gave the RuSPORT squad its first win and promoted Wilson to third in the championship points. Servia held on for second while Tagliani thrilled the homefolks with a podium finish. Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) held off a late charge from Bourdais to hang a season-best fourth-place finish on the board while Bourdais would reclaim the series points lead by battling back for a fifth-place run.
Ryan Hunter-Reay (#31 Cytomax Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) gained 11 spots on the day to place a season-high sixth while Glock retook the rookie points lead by placing seventh. He took the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year lead away from Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) when Ranger suffered electrical problems just three laps shy of the finish. Alex Sperafico (#55 HVM Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) scored a career-high eighth-place finish in his first run in the HVM car while Toyota Atlantic veteran Ryan Dalziel (#19 American Medical Response Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), placed ninth in his Champ Car debut.
QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE FINISHERS
Justin Wilson #9 CDW/RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:
"Seems hard to believe that we've actually finally broken the duck. I'm very excited for RuSPORT. I'm very excited for myself. You know, I think this is something that's been on the cards for the last couple of races and we can move forward from here now. The third lap, I decided "This is the one I'm going for." I managed to get a good run, closed right in on Oriol. It was good, clean racing. I was very pleased and couldn't believe it when I came out in front, realized I then had the chance of taking it all the way to the end."
Oriol Servia #2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:
"I feel good. I feel very happy. I didn't lie when I said that every session we are one step closer to the win. I mean, if it's just one more step, I guess must be next race (laughter). It's really good. I'm just looking at the fastest lap. I really see that Justin was really fast. I mean, he's a second clear of me. I knew he was faster than me in turn three. I was actually slow the whole race. Under braking and at the apex of turn three was like my weak point. It's not where you want to have a weak point around this track because is almost the only place to overtake."
Alex Tagliani #15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:
"This is fantastic to get a podium result here in Toronto the team did a brilliant job for me today, their pit stops were perfect. I was even luckier that the race didn't go green again, because I picked up a puncture the next around from all the debris that was all over the track. The team keeps giving me a fantastic car and I have to thank the Aussie Vineyards guys and Derrick and all the boys for the great job they are doing."
Justin Wilson became the second driver ever to claim his first Champ Car win in Toronto. The only other driver to get his maiden victory in Toronto was Adrian Fernandez in 1996.
Four drivers led at least 10 laps in today's race, marking the first time in Toronto event history that four different drivers have led as many as 10 laps in a race.
Sebastien Bourdais led a race-high 34 laps today, giving him 855 in his career. He is just nine laps behind Wally Dallenbach for 26th place on the all-time Champ Car list.
Alex Tagliani's third-place finish today allowed Canada to widen its advantage in the Nations Cup to 25 points over France.
Timo Glock holds a three-point lead in the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year standings over Andrew Ranger after six races.
Today's attendance of 71,433 pushed the three-day attendance for this year's race to 160,315.