BOURDAIS BEGINS 2005 SEASON ON TOP WITH LOLA It was a warm and spring day on the streets of Long Beach where Sebastien Bourdais performed to perfection in winning the 31st annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. It was his 11th series victory...
BOURDAIS BEGINS 2005 SEASON ON TOP WITH LOLA
It was a warm and spring day on the streets of Long Beach where Sebastien Bourdais performed to perfection in winning the 31st annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. It was his 11th series victory and 18th podium in only 33 career Champ Car starts.
The Frenchman, who claimed the 2005 Vanderbilt Cup with his Newman/Haas Racing [now] #1 McDonald's Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone machine used superior Lola setups, excellent pit strategy and innate talent to lead 37 of 81 laps around the 1.968-mile Long Beach streets and beat polesitter Paul Tracy's #3 Indeck/Forsythe Championship Racing Lola by a monumental 4.138 seconds. Second starter Bruno Junqueira was third with the #2 PacifiCare Lola, followed by Justin Wilson's #9 SanDisk Lola and Mario Dominguez, making his first start in the #7 Indeck/Forsythe Lola.
"We didn't change the car that much all weekend and not at all after the morning warmup," Bourdais revealed. "We just did our best to extract the best out of our Lola and our Bridgestone tires." Runner-up Tracy, who secured the two previous Long Beach trophies made his 63rd podium appearance. The Canadian "tried to keep pace with Sebastien but we were not where we wanted to be, all in all." In securing his seventh straight podium Junqueira worked to "save fuel all day. Fine-tuning our Lola makes a big difference for both of us; each day one of us was ^Ìright there' and today was Sebastien's day. He took advantage of the small differences." Wilson declared his result was "a good start to the season" with his new RuSPORT team while Dominguez noted he had a single day to test with his new team and had braking problems that made it difficult to progress.
Rookie Timo Glock earned sixth in the #8 Rocketsports Lola while another rookie, Ronnie Bremer was seventh in his first drive in the #55 HVM, Inc. Lola. A.J. Allmendinger (#10 Red Bull Lola), Jimmy Vasser in the #12 Gulfstream Lola and Cristiano da Matta's #21 Bell Micro Lola rounded out the top ten.
With all 19 starters running the preferred Lola chassis, a new era in Champ Car racing began today that sees team and driver skills come to the fore. This race marked the first time since 2002 at the 2-mile California Speedway oval that there have been lead changes in a Champ Car contest amongst seven drivers. Only two of 19 starters retired and 13 cars finished on the lead lap.
Race #2 in the 14-event Champ Car World Series campaign takes place May 22 at Fundidora Park in Monterrey, Mexico.