CHAMPCAR/CART: Assen: Series race report

JUSTIN WILSON EARNS FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON IN HOLLAND British Driver Leads Podium of Heylen and Junqueira Assen, The Netherlands -- From the start of the Bavaria Beer Champ Car Grand Prix of Holland Presented by Audi. Gant, Hertz, Pioneer and...

JUSTIN WILSON EARNS FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON IN HOLLAND British Driver Leads Podium of Heylen and Junqueira

Assen, The Netherlands -- From the start of the Bavaria Beer Champ Car Grand Prix of Holland Presented by Audi. Gant, Hertz, Pioneer and Jumbo, Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) made it known he would be the man to beat today, taking the lead in the opening corner and holding off a variety of challengers to earn his first win of the season and the fourth of his career.

Wilson led 39 of the 69 circuits, on his way to the winner's circle, losing the lead to Bruno Junqueira (#19 Sonny's Bar-B-Q Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who was on a different pit strategy. With the win Wilson jumped two spots in the Series championship standings to second and now sits 58 points behind leader Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone).

Joining Wilson on the podium was Conquest Racing's Jan Heylen (#34 Grafiprint Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Dale Coyne Racing's Bruno Junqueira. Neither driver had an easy trip to the podium, as Heylen started seventh and picked his was through the field on the narrow TT Circuit Assen. The Belgian's charge through the field combined with quick pit work from his crew led to Conquest Racing's first podium since Monterrey, Mexico in 2005.

While Heylen took one route to the podium, Junqueira and the Dale Coyne Racing team used a separate tact, pitting under the first yellow and getting timely cautions to keep the Brazilian driver near the front of the field. After finishing second last week at Zolder, it looked like Dale Coyne Racing would get its first ever win, but a problem with the pit lane speed limiter during Junqueira's final pit stop cost him valuable time and allowed Wilson and Heylen to pass.

PKV Racing's Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay By Touch-MegaSpirea Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Neel Jani (#21 Red Bull-Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) finished fourth and fifth respectively. The finish is a career best for the Frenchman Gommendy. For the Swiss driver Jani, perseverance paid off as he overcame a problem with his Power-to-Pass on lap 22 to earn his fourth top-five finish this season.

Jani wasn't the only driver affected by a problem with Power-to-Pass as Sebastien Bourdais also dropped several positions on the first lap with a similar problem. Following Jani's incident, Champ Car officials instructed all of the teams not to use their Power-to-Pass during the remainder of the event. Though the drivers were unable to use their Power-to-Pass overtaking continued throughout the field.

After starting near the front, rookie Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) fell all the way to 11th in the running order before recovering to finish sixth. His fellow countryman, Bourdais finished right behind in seventh. For Bourdais, the race was a battle from start to finish. After losing the lead in Turn 1, and having his Power-to-Pass malfunction on the same lap, the three-time champion sat fifth in the running order. Following his first pit stop during the second full course caution period, Bourdais dropped another two spots to seventh and then during the final full course yellow, Bourdais stalled on pit lane and rejoined the field in the 16th position. Showing his true form as a Champion, he steadily drove through the field to salvage a seventh place result.

Coming home in the eighth spot was Oriol Servia (#7 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) just ahead of America rookie Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone). Rahal's top-ten performance along with Bourdais' seventh place result secured the Phanos Champ Car European Team Cup for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing.

Next up for the Champ Car World Series is a trip 'Down Under' to Surfers' Paradise, Australia. Queensland's marquee event runs from October 19 -- 21.

QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE FINISHERS

Justin Wilson: "It's a great result for the #9 CDW/RuSPORT team. I've got to thank the whole team -- they've done brilliantly and they deserve this win so much. The pit-stops were good and my engineer Mike Talbott did a great job working out a set-up with no running in the warm-up. The crowd seemed to me as good, if not better, than any Formula 1 race I've been to."

Jan Heylen: "We finally had everything work out for us after a rough start of the season. From the first session on Friday, we knew we had a fast car and we were really encouraged by all of our sessions leading up to the race because at each session we were getting better and learning more. I'm very happy for the team and all of our guests from Grafiprint. The promoters have done an amazing job at both of these European events so I think both Zolder and Assen can be considered a great success."

Bruno Junqueira "My car was pretty good today. Could save fuel and still go pretty fast. I did a good pace throughout the whole race, almost the entire time I was leading and I felt very good. I think the team did a good job."

-credit: ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Bruno Junqueira , Oriol Servia , Graham Rahal , Sébastien Bourdais , Neel Jani , Tristan Gommendy , Jan Heylen , Simon Pagenaud , Dale Coyne
Teams Conquest Racing , Dale Coyne Racing