Michel Jourdain Jr. won the Molson Indy Montreal; a race local hometown hero Alex Tagliani probably deserved to win. Jourdain won the race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in a time of 1:54:23.210 finishing 1.277 seconds ahead of Oriol Servia,...
Michel Jourdain Jr. won the Molson Indy Montreal; a race local hometown hero Alex Tagliani probably deserved to win. Jourdain won the race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in a time of 1:54:23.210 finishing 1.277 seconds ahead of Oriol Servia, and 2.099 seconds ahead of the other local hero, Patrick Carpentier.
Pole-sitter Tagliani led almost the entire race and was the dominant driver of the day. However, his pit stop strategy meant he was pitting a lap or two earlier than the other main contenders. During those one or two laps, those main contenders could lap quicker with empty tanks. His lead, however, was always large enough to retain the lead when each round of pit stops finished. Before his third and last pit stop however, that was not the case.
Bruno Junqueira, having a rough day, spun on lap 45 at the hairpin, bringing out a full course yellow. This reduced Tagliani's lead. It would not have hurt too much if there had not been an incident on the restart at lap 48. Tiago Monteiro t-boned Ryan Hunter-Reay at the hairpin and this brought out another full course yellow.
The green came out again on lap 52, and this did not give Tagliani enough laps to build up enough of a lead before he pitted at the end of lap 58. When the rest of the main runners pitted at the end of lap 60, Tagliani was sitting only 5th.
"We're sad. The team is disappointed," said Tagliani. "We pulled 5 seconds ahead each stint. But before the last stops the first yellow slowed us down, the second destroyed us."
"I knew we needed to save fuel right from the start," said Jourdain. "Tag was running a pace so fast that I couldn't keep his pace, so we just worked to our own strategy, and it paid off."
Tagliani seemed to be perturbed by his turn in fortune, and began to drive erratically. He tried to pass Paul Tracy into corners 8 and 9, but he went in too quickly and slid through the grass. He was lucky to get away with that. He then went a bit wide at the Senna corner. After that scare, he settled down and pushed Tracy hard.
Tracy had been running a quiet race until that point, sitting in 5th for most of it, then 4th after Tagliani's troubles. But, he ran out of gas on the last lap just before crossing the line, allowing Tagliani and Mario Dominguez to pass him, which dropped him to 6th.
"It would've been nice for the team to tell me we had a fuel problem," said Tracy. "They tell me on the last lap to save fuel, but by then I'm out of fuel. Unbelievable."
Third place Carpentier also had a fairly quiet afternoon. He sat the entire race in front of team-mate Tracy, though he reported of braking and gear shifting troubles. He wasn't affected enough though to not push Servia and Jourdain hard towards the finish.
Jourdain's win gives him 157 points in the championship, which keeps him in third position, but moves him very close to 2nd place Bruno Junqueira, who finished out of the points. Championship leader Paul Tracy's 6th place increases his lead over Junqueira to 28 points.
The next race is one week, August 31st, on the streets of Denver.