WILL POWERS SLIPS AND SLIDES TO VICTORY AT TORONTO Robert Doornbos Takes Series Championship Lead in Tight Three-way Battle Mother Nature has taken a keen interest in the last two rounds of the Champ Car World Series as precipitation once...
WILL POWERS SLIPS AND SLIDES TO VICTORY AT TORONTO
Robert Doornbos Takes Series Championship Lead in Tight Three-way Battle
Mother Nature has taken a keen interest in the last two rounds of the Champ Car World Series as precipitation once again added intrigue into the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto when the skies opened up 37 laps into the event. Australian Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was able to navigate the both the wet and dry conditions to claim his second career win and move into the second spot in the Series Championship standings just two points behind.
The changing conditions also changed the landscape of the championship as Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) assumed the top spot from Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) after finishing sixth. On lap 68 Doornbos and Bourdais were running together and made contact entering Turn 3, both cars ended up against the tires, but the three-time defending champ Bourdais got the worst of the incident having to retire from the race ninth, while Doornbos only lost a lap to the field. The poor finishing result for Bourdais dropped him to third in the Championship standings just three points out of the lead.
The Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto started with a flurry as Oriol Servia (#7 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) jumped to the lead in the first corner from his third place starting position, while behind him mayhem broke out as Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) made contact in Turn 4 with Canadian Alex Tagliani (#8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) cutting down "Tags" rear tire and breaking the front wing off of Pagenaud's Team Australia car. The front wing ended up underneath another Canadian's car, as Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) ran over the debris and pushed the piece all the way to Turn 8, effecting his steering and forcing him hard into the wall. As cars rounded the blind Turn 7, there was no place to go for Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), Jan Heylen (#34 Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay By Touch-Megaspiera Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), Katherine Legge (#11 Dale Coyne Racing Coswroth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Alex Figge (#29 Pacific Coast Motorsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone). Gommendy went for the wildest ride launching over the back of Heylen's car, all the drivers were uninjured, but only Rahal was able to continue.
Servia paced the race for the first 34 laps before green flag pit stops changed the complexion of the race. Servia was the first to duck onto pit lane after he experienced fuel pickup problems. One lap later it was Bourdais who came to replenish his fuel and refresh his Bridgestone Potenzas leaving Will Power at the point. As the round of green flag stops came to an end so did the clear weather as rain started to fall on the 1.755-mile circuit. Neel Jani (#21 Red Bull-Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Ryan Dalziel (#28 Sun Media/PCM Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) both stopped for the grooved Bridgestone Potenzas designed for the wet conditions on lap 38. The move would prove prophetic as the yellow flag would fly on the same lap after Tagliani and Servia both slid into the tire barriers.
As most of the field came to pit road under the yellow, Dalziel assumed the lead and continued on the point for 16 laps, the first laps he has led in Champ Car competition. On the restart, Power drove by Bourdais and Dan Clarke (Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) to move from fifth to third. Then on the ensuing two restarts for cars sliding into the tire barriers, Power moved by Neel Jani and Dalziel to claim the lead. Jani was the next to get by Dalziel while Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) also had the Scot in his sights. Wilson would trail Dalziel for the next nine circuits before contact in Turn 8 caused Dalziel end up in the tires and Wilson end up on the podium.
At the finish it was Power who made it to the checkered flag first followed by Jani, who earned his second career Champ Car podium and Wilson. Simon Pagenaud finished fourth and Dale Coyne Racing driver Bruno Junqueira (#19 Sonny's Bar-B-Q Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) scored his best finish of the season coming home fifth.
The race for the Canadian Triple Crown saw the Team Australia duo of Power and Pagenaud continue to lead with RSPORTS driver Alex Tagliani and Justin Wilson second in the standings with the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing's Sebastien Bourdais and Graham Rahal placed third.
Next up for the competitors in the Champ Car World Series is the Rexall Grand Prix Edmonton which starts on Friday, July 20 with practice and qualifying. The race will begin at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, July 22 and can be seen live on ESPN in the United States and Global in Canada.
QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE STARTERS
Will Power: "It was an interesting race. It was great that it rained, but also in the dry we went a lap longer than everyone. We were looking good then. We were looking good either way. So, you know, I'm very happy for the team. This is exactly what we needed points-wise, and also for Sebastien not to finish, that really helps us in the championship. We've got some pretty strong tracks coming up."
Neel Jani: "I have to still learn a bit more about fuel saving in Champ Car. But as it seemed at the end, with the rain, it wasn't that important anymore. We had to pit for the rain tires one lap after everybody else just after the yellow flag came out, so the team did a great job on that, and also the pit stop was good. That just brought us from, I think five, six or seven forward to second. Obviously then Will passed me, but he was too quick today."
Justin Wilson: "It was an eventful race. I was racing Sebastien earlier on. I tried to pass him going into five. He got a really bad run through four so I knew I had a chance. He went in deep and turned in as if I wasn't there. I was disappointed that I got spun around. But, you know, I was fired up to come back, too. I enjoyed passing him later in the race and getting a position off of him."