CHAMPCAR/CART: Bourdais scores victory in Portland

CHAMPCAR/CART: Bourdais scores victory in Portland

Donuts were served by Sebastien Bourdais after he won his second race of the season, winning the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland, beating his Newman/Haas teammate, Bruno Junqueira, by a little over a second. Bourdais started the race from pole...

Donuts were served by Sebastien Bourdais after he won his second race of the season, winning the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland, beating his Newman/Haas teammate, Bruno Junqueira, by a little over a second. Bourdais started the race from pole and led all but 11 of the 94 laps.

Race winner S?bastien Bourdais.
Photo by Ford Motor Company.
"I knew that Bruno would have a shot to catch me at the end when he put on a set of the alternate tires," said Bourdais after the race. "Those tires were so fast and I had the primary tires on because I used up my alternate tires. However, we were able to pull it off."

Bourdais's victory moves him back into championship contention, only nine points adrift of Junqueira's total of 107. Patrick Carpentier, who finished today's race fourth, holds down second place with 99 points, one ahead of Bourdais.

The race got underway under blue skies and hot temperatures with Sebastien leading the field down the front straight and into the festival curves. The first few cars made it through turn one without incident; then Mario Dominguez, while trying to avoid A.J Allmendinger and Ryan Hunter-Reay made contact with Michel Jourdain Jr. who ran off the track. All the following cars made it through without incident and with the help of the Champ Car Safety Team Jourdain managed to return to the race but after two quick stops in the pits under yellow he fell a lap down.

This incident brought out a yellow flag which lasted until the end of lap three at which point the cars started to accelerate off the final turn and Dominguez spun, hit the wall backwards, and collected Rodolpho Lavin, in the process taking both of the cars out of the race. The yellow was thrown again and it took four laps to clean up the track. The top five at this point were Bourdais, Junqueira, Paul Tracy, Justin Wilson and Alex Tagliani.

The race went green on the fourth lap and as the leaders went into the first turn Tagliani, who had already made up two positions at the start, tried to make a move down the inside of Justin Wilson but did not manage. On lap nine Carpentier, who had moved up four positions in the first three laps came into the pits for his first green flag stop, put on the soft option tire and came out in fifteenth place. Servia also decided to get a green flag stop out of the way but he went over the pit lane speed limit and had to do a drive through penalty next lap dropping him to fifteenth behind Carpentier.

By lap nineteen, Mario Haberfeld, who had been working his way up through the field, had moved up eight positions, without using his puss to pass button, to seventh place where he stayed until his first pit stop on lap twenty nine.

Pitstop for Bruno Junqueira.
Photo by Ford Motor Company.
Junqueira also came into the pits on that lap and took off the soft option tires that he had started on and put the harder compound on. His teammate Bourdais came in the next lap leaving Tracy in first place.

Wilson and Tagliani pitted from second and third position on lap 31 and Allmendinger followed them in the next lap. Tracy came for his first green pit stop on lap thirty three, he had managed to stretch his fuel and tires further than the rest of the field but he did not reap the reward of this as he was caught in traffic behind Gaston Mazzacane for a few laps before his pit stop. He came out in third behind Bourdais and Junqueira, Carpentier was in fourth with Wilson and Allmendinger behind him in fifth and sixth.

On lap 40 Carpentier came in from fourth for his second green flag pit stop and had dropped to seventh when he came out. Two laps later Hunter-Reay spun off onto the grass at turn eleven but he managed to keep the car going and continue on, but decided to come into the pits before proceeding, all of which dropped him from eighth to twelfth. Bourdais by this time has used all but nineteen seconds of his allotted push to pass time etting past traffic and staying ahead of Junqueira.

Lap forty-five saw Haberfeld and Carpentier fighting for seventh place and it was not until Carpentier had used all but two seconds of his push to pass that he managed to pass on the fifty-first lap and then Haberfeld came in to the pits two laps later. Carpentier at this point was in sixth place as Tagliani had gone into the pits the same lap that Carpentier made the pass. Meanwhile on lap fifty Allmendinger made a move on fellow rookie Wilson heading into turn one and he too didn't make it.

Lap fifty-three saw the first local yellow of the race as Alex Sperafico spun in turn one and stalled his car. The safety team gave Sperafico a bump start and he continued but fell from eleventh to last after going into the pits that lap.

Paul Tracy.
Photo by Bridgestone - Dennis Ashlock.
On lap fifty-six Junqueira started the second round of pit stops for the leaders and his teammate Bourdais came in on the next lap giving Tracy the lead again. He came out second, seventeen seconds behind Tracy with Bruno in third. Wilson and Allmendinger came in on lap sixty-one, with Wilson managing to get in front of Allmendinger as they left the pits. Tracy again made the most of his fuel and tires and didn't come in until lap 63, but again, he wasn't able to make the most of it because he had been caught behind Tagliani for several laps.

On lap sixty-eight Carpentier came into the pits for his last pit stop and came out in sixth. Bourdais was leading Junqueira by 6.9 seconds and Tracy by 12.5 seconds on lap seventy-one and the top five drivers were the only ones on the lead lap. Lap seventy-six saw Junqueira and Tracy make their last pit stops and Bourdais made his one lap later.

After all the pit stops had been completed the top five were Bourdais, Junqueira, Tracy, Wilson and Allmendinger. By lap ninety-two Junqueira had closed to within 2.9 seconds of Bourdais and again posted the fastest lap of the race using most of his push to pass to get him to within 1.8 seconds of Bourdais.

Bourdais, however was not to be pushed into making a mistake, and when the checkered flag, he crossed the finish line first, winning his second race of the season, with his Newman/Haas teammate in second. Tracy came in third, followed by Carpentier, Wilson and Allmendinger.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gaston Mazzacane , Mario Haberfeld , Justin Wilson , Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Sébastien Bourdais , Alex Sperafico , Michel Jourdain