CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Lola race report

Bourdais finally home first Wins straight-up fight with Tracy for third win Sebastien Bourdais notched his third win of the 2003 Champ Car season in the US Bank presents the Cleveland Grand Prix, CART's 22nd visit to Burke Lakefront Airport's ...

Bourdais finally home first
Wins straight-up fight with Tracy for third win

Sebastien Bourdais notched his third win of the 2003 Champ Car season in the US Bank presents the Cleveland Grand Prix, CART's 22nd visit to Burke Lakefront Airport's 2.106-mile circuit next to Lake Erie. Bourdais' victory in the #2 McDonald's/Lilly Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone racer climaxed a fierce battle between the French rookie and veteran Paul Tracy, who followed him to the checkers 2.241 seconds in arrears in the #3 Team Player's Lola. Bruno Junqueira finished third in the 31 PacifiCare Lola, as eight Lola drivers were first under the flags.

In the historic first night race of major open wheel racing, the lead changed only once in the pits on the third of four compulsory stops as Bourdais beat Tracy out from service. "As the fuel went down the quicker we were," Bourdais said. "The race at night was fun." Both Bourdais and Tracy had blistered hands from the physical nature of the track, which was subjected to rain showers just prior to grid time. "This was a tiring race with the humidity tonight. The car was good but my hands got tired the last 15-18 laps with the rubber buildup," Tracy allowed. Junqueira, looking no worse for the wear "had too much understeer to pass Paul," although he tried hard on the final lap to take second.

Despite a damaged left-front wing endplate, Patrick Carpentier earned fourth place in the #32 Team Player's Lola. Mario Dominguez was fifth in the #55 Herdez Lola after a fierce battle with Oriol Servia's #20 Visteon Lola, which took sixth place. Michel Jourdain Jr. recovered from a first lap spin in his #9 Gigante Lola that took him to 18th and last place to finish seventh. "I made a mistake on the first lap, but fortunately we made it back to the same position on the track. Alex Tagliani finished eighth in the #33 Johnson Controls Lola after bouncing through the field through much of the night.

With his finish and by leading the most laps, Paul Tracy fed his points lead to 117 over Junqueira, who has 109. Jourdain is third with 97, Carpentier fourth (82) and Bourdais jumps to fifth with 74 points. The Champ Cars reconvene next week for Round #10 of the 19-race campaign the Molson Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place.

-lola cars-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais , Michel Jourdain