McDONALD'S DRIVER BOURDAIS EARNED THIRD STRAIGHT WIN IN THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH; MEDI | ZONE DRIVER RAHAL EIGHTH McDonald's driver Sebastien Bourdais earned his third consecutive win in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach today after...
McDONALD'S DRIVER BOURDAIS EARNED THIRD STRAIGHT WIN IN THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH; MEDI | ZONE DRIVER RAHAL EIGHTH
McDonald's driver Sebastien Bourdais earned his third consecutive win in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach today after he built a dominating 22 second lead at one point and led 58 of the 78 laps, only relinquishing the lead through pit stop cycles. He led the first 31 laps before his first pit stop on Lap 32 and regained it on Lap 39. He held the position until his next stop on Lap 55 during a caution period for Simon Pagenaud. Prior to that, he had built a lead of 22 seconds. He returned to the track behind rookie Tristan Gommendy who was out of pit sequence. Once Gommendy pitted Bourdais reclaimed the lead and held off second place Oriol Servia who was filling in for Paul Tracy who was injured on Saturday and will miss the upcoming races. Following are his post race comments:
"It feels really good for the whole McDonald's team," said Bourdais. They worked their tails off all winter and I really, really couldn't feel any worse than what I was feeling after Vegas, making all these mistakes. And I think we worked a little bit on the car to make me a little more comfortable and we got things figured out. I can't thank the team hard enough for what they've done because, again, they went to bed way past midnight and woke up at 4 this morning and they were there at the track to get the cars ready. It's just unbelievable how much effort they put into it. It's really definitely a team effort that's been rewarded today and I really enjoyed the ride."
- Medi | Zone driver Graham Rahal competed in his first Champ Car race and finished eighth in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach after starting fifth. He held fifth place and pressured Simon Pagenaud until his first pit stop on Lap 30. A fueling problem caused the stop to take longer than it should have and he returned to the track in seventh place once the field cycled through their stops. Oriol Servia and Justin Wilson were able to get ahead of him due to taking advantage of pitting on an early caution period and his slower stop. He moved into sixth place after Pagenaud, whom he had been closing on, made a mistake and made contact. He made his second stop on Lap 55 and returned to the race in ninth place. Once temporary race leader Tristan Gommendy made his final pit stop, Rahal moved into eighth place on Lap 68 and remained there until the checkered flag after 78 laps. Following are Rahal's post race comments:
"The Medi | Zone team had a pretty good day," said Rahal. "We struggled a little bit with the fueling on both stops. It was no fault of the crew, the new equipment just took longer. We have to fix the issues. I think everybody is having the same issues but it took us longer to fuel than others. On the track I think we were competitive with who ever we were running with. Unfortunately we got behind (Neel) Jani at the end. He may have been slower than us but he had a lot of straightaway speed. I don't know where he got it because I was better off the hairpin than he was but he had some speed which eliminated the possibility of getting by him. At least we got the first race behind us and the next one should be better. I know what it's like to drive a while race now and I'm happy to say that I was physically prepared enough because I don't feel too bad. I'm pretty happy about that. Certainly I'll be getting a massage the next couple of days. I had a major back cramp."
Up Next... The Champ Car World Series will reconvene next weekend for the Houston Grand Prix. McDonald's driver Bourdais won the event last year.