Michel Jourdain, ...
Michel Jourdain, #9
Contact put an early end to Michel Jourdain's Cleveland race, but not before the veteran driver gave his first-year RuSPORT another first. Jourdain led the team's first official laps during the Fourth of the July event leading twice for seven laps in his No. 9 Gigante Champ Car.
Jourdain capitalized on the first lap Turn 1 mêlee to move from eighth to sixth position. On the Lap 4 restart, he passed Dominguez for fifth place and gained another position when teammate AJ Allmendinger spun on Lap 12. Jourdain led for one lap (Lap 28) before pitting himself on Lap 29 returning to action in second place. Struggling with the handling of the car, Jourdain brushed the outside wall of Turn 8 falling to fifth place. Jourdain battled his ill-handling car back to the lead on Lap 54. Jourdain relinquished the lead on Lap 60 as he entered pit lane for his second stop of the day. The Gigante crew found left front suspension damage and opted to bring Jourdain back to pit lane on Lap 61. He finished 15th.
"RuSPORT and the Gigante crew just proved to everybody what we already knew. It was just a matter of time before this team competed for its first Champ Car victory. RuSPORT is an exceptional team capable of anything. It's unfortunate that we had the finish we did, but we'll be back in the Toronto contending at the front."
Carl Russo, Team Owner
"Michel showed good speed this weekend. We didn't quite get his qualifying set-up right, but all the guys worked really hard overnight to put him in a better race car and I think you saw the result of that. He went right to the front leading the first laps for RuSPORT in just our fifth Champ Car race. Michel also made one small mistake and brushed the wall in Turn 8. Ultimately that contact flexed the suspension. Many laps later it was going to break, so we waved him in. I'm proud of his effort. He did another great job for us. I think he would have put RuSPORT on the podium again, but we'll go to Toronto to see how far up the grid we can get next weekend."