CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: Lola race report

Tracy makes history. Takes third consecutive win in 2003. It was a day of excitement and heartbreak in the 29th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, as Paul Tracy ( ...

Tracy makes history.
Takes third consecutive win in 2003.

It was a day of excitement and heartbreak in the 29th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, as Paul Tracy (#3 Team Player's Lola/Ford) took advantage of polesitter Michel Jourdain Jr.'s misfortune on his final pit stop to claim his third consecutive victory of the short 2003 season, edging Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Lola/Ford) by 4.544 seconds in a tough 90-lap enduro around the 1.968-mile Long Beach city streets. Bruno Junqueira brought the #1 PacifiCare Lola/Ford home in third place.

Jourdain, who had led 48 laps and looked on his way to victory, suffered clutch failure on his #9 Gigante Lola/Ford when he pitted on lap 83 for his final stop. "I had the best car, I have the best crew, the best everything, but it wasn't meant to be," the disappointed Mexican explained. His retirement was one of three due to mechanical difficulties, while three cars retired after contact on the 11-turn circuit.

"He definitely had the measure of me," Tracy acknowledged afterwards. "We weren't able to get the mileage we needed but we had good in and out laps. That was the most physical race I've ever done." Fernandez thanked his crew and said, "We had good strategy for the race and I knew this weekend we had a good car. I had to push every single lap. This Lola is the best car I've had in a long time." Junqueira was "quite happy although Michel deserved to win. I'm very happy to put the car third because we didn't have a car to win today."

Jimmy Vasser took fourth place after starting in 14th, while Mario Dominguez secured 5th place in the #55 Herdez Lola/Ford. "I tried to be consistent throughout the race. It was very slippery out there," he noted after taking only his second top-five finish (the other was his win at Surfers Paradise last fall). Patrick Carpentier earned 6th place in the #32 Team Player's Lola/Ford despite stalling on his final pit stop.

The Champ Cars take a brief hiatus before reconvening on May 5th at Brands Hatch in England for the London Champ Car Trophy around the 1.3-mile short course. Tracy leads the standings with 64 points, followed by Junqueira with 38 and Jourdain with 34.

-lola cars-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Michel Jourdain