Bourdais Captures Championship in Spinning, Winning Style Sebastien Bourdais put an emphatic exclamation point on his championship season by leading every lap - and even overcoming a rare mental mistake and spin-on the way to his seventh...
Bourdais Captures Championship in Spinning, Winning Style
Sebastien Bourdais put an emphatic exclamation point on his championship season by leading every lap - and even overcoming a rare mental mistake and spin-on the way to his seventh victory of 2004. Needing only to finish 10th when the race began to clinch the series title in just his second season, Bourdais left no doubt that he outclassed the field at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez - much as he has done in the McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola on Bridgestone tires most of the year.
Bourdais took full advantage of the two sets of Bridgestone Potenza alternate tires supplied to every car today, building a lead of as much as 17 seconds before spinning on the 41st of 63 laps. But the 25-year-old Frenchman recovered quickly, never surrendered the lead and pulled back away to a 4.6-second win over Newman/Haas Racing teammate Bruno Junqueira, who wound up second in the championship standings for the third straight year.
Afterward, both Newman/Haas pilots were well aware how vital the fast, consistent and durable Bridgestone tires aided their rides to the top in 2004. Bourdais even set today's fastest race lap (1 minute, 28.794 seconds) on a set of alternate Potenzas with 25 race laps plus a qualifying stint on them.
"The Bridgestone tires were great the whole race and the whole season," said Bourdais. "We saved fuel the first 11 laps on the first stint today and the Bridgestone tires were still holding up very well as we got low on fuel. The balance was good and I was able to go quite fast. Bridgestone brought an excellent alternate tire that not only was very much faster but also very, very consistent. ... You cannot win without being right on with the tires, and the Bridgestone tires have been fantastic all season. They never gave up on us and I think we had only one puncture all season, which is remarkable considering what they go through. We always use them at the best and they give the best back to us."
"This race the tires were great," added Junqueira. "For sure the alternate tires were so good I wish we could have those all the time. It was good that Bridgestone came up with those tires this year because it made the racing more exciting."
Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Congratulations to Sebastien Bourdais, who drove a spectacular race and wrapped up the championship all at once. We're really happy for the entire Newman/Haas organization and all it accomplished this year. Today we were especially pleased with the performance of our alternate tires that displayed superior speed to the standard Potenzas, yet maintained Bridgestone's trademark consistency and durability throughout the stints. We're also delighted that we have such great support here in Mexico, both from the fans and from our own company that gets involved at so many levels including advertising and dealer entertainment. This is a great event for Champ Car and we hope to be a part of it in the future."