CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Race report



MEXICO CITY (November 6, 2005) -- Justin Wilson (#9 Intel Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) stormed to a victory in Sunday's Gran Premio Telmex/Tecate Presented by Banamex by leading 65 of 70 laps around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, but leaving it that is like reading the final chapter of a Stephen King novel and thinking you got the plot.

Wilson fought off a number of fierce challenges from teammate A.J. Allmendinger (#10 Western Union Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), including a final charge after a Lap 65 restart, to score his second victory of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season. Allmendinger held on to the second spot for his fifth podium finish of the year and Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) powered back from a pair of incidents that sent him to the back of the pack to take his seventh podium finish of the campaign.

Wilson roared away from Allmendinger at the start while Tracy earned the first of his two trips to the rear of the field, suffering a punctured tire in Turn One while battling for the third spot behind the two RuSPORT machines. Tracy fell back to 19th after getting new Bridgestones and immediately returned to battle, turning laps just as quick as the leaders. Allmendinger stayed within a second of Wilson over the first 20 laps while series champion Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) clawed his way back from five seconds down to tuck in behind the rear wing of Allmendinger as the first pit windows started to open.

Tracy and Rodolfo Lavin (#55 Corona Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) were the first to pit, rolling the dice on Lap 19 in hopes that the caution banner would bring the duo back into contention. The gamble paid off just one lap later as Ronnie Bremer (#19 American Medical Response Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) had heavy contact in Turn 13, bringing out the yellow flag for a lengthy cleanup.

The entire field, save Tracy and Lavin, rolled down Pit Lane for their first fuel stops, promoting Lavin to the lead as the hometown crowd roared. The pit stops went smoothly for most of the field but, having done her duty for him for 2005, Lady Luck turned her back on Bourdais. The Newman/Haas pilot suffered a miscue in the pits that not only relegated him to the back of the field, but necessitated a second stop to ensure that there was no damage.

Lavin led Tracy and Wilson into the first turn on the Lap 27 restart but Lavin's advantage would fail to last through a second bend in the course. Tracy slid around Lavin heading into Turn One, but Lavin cut back outside and retook the point for the briefest of seconds before he and Tracy had contact. Tracy recovered from the contact, but the incident opened the door for Wilson to slip past and into the lead. Lavin was not as fortunate as he suffered a punctured tire that sent him down Pit Lane for new shoes.

Wilson headed toward Turn Four with the lead while Tracy tried to maintain his hold on the second spot ahead of Allmendinger. Tracy moved to the far left of the track to keep the young Californian at bay, but would end up going to the back again as Champ Car Race Control determined that Tracy was guilty of blocking in keeping Allmendinger in the third spot. The resulting drive-through penalty dropped Tracy to the 16th position while Wilson and Allmendinger roared away.

The lanky Brit sprinted away from the field after retaking the lead, building a lead of more than six seconds over Allmendinger and knocking Cristiano da Matta (#21 Bell Micro Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) more than 14 back. While Wilson ticked off laps at the front of the queue, Tracy and Bourdais ripped through the back of the field on their way to the top 10. Bourdais went hammer-and-tong with Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) for the 10th spot as the rookie fought off the series champion for three hard-fought laps before finally relinquishing his position.

Da Matta dropped back to fifth as series runner-up Oriol Servia (#2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Mario Dominguez (#8 Roshfrans Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) slipped by for third just prior to the final round of green-flag stops -- a move that would seal the end of the day for Bourdais in another ten laps.

Wilson maintained his lead after the pit stops cycled through, but the new Bridgestones agreed with the Allmendinger car as he ripped off three of the fastest laps of the race in whittling his teammate's lead down to less than three seconds. Behind Allmendinger, the huge Mexico City crowd began to take notice of another fierce battle as Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year Timo Glock (#8 DHL Global Mail Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) ran down Dominguez for third -- Dominguez having gotten a great stop from his Forsythe squad to move into third.

Glock and Dominguez went nose-to-tail for three laps before Glock decided to make his move inside of Turn One with 12 laps to go. Unyielding to the challenge of the rookie, Dominguez held his ground and the two cars had contact in the center of the turn, resulting in a Dominguez spin that ended the Mexican's chance for a hometown podium finish.

Wilson again slipped away from the field on the Lap 61 restart while Tracy quietly picked his way up to the eighth spot and Bourdais closed on da Matta for fifth. Closing on the 2002 series champion ended up closing out the season for Bourdais, who had contact heading into Turn One with the rear of da Matta's PKV Racing, sending both of them spinning into the gravel trap. The contact broke the front wing of Bourdais' machine and left him nine laps shy of making the finish for the first time this year.

That caution set up the final restart and brought Allmendinger up to Wilson's rear wing for one final shot at the win. Wilson got another strong run on the restart and snapped off two consecutive fastest race laps in sealing the deal on his win. Tracy made his final restart of the year count in a big way as he passed Servia and Glock heading into Turn One and stole the third spot, making his way to the podium after one of the most eventful days of his 236-start series career.

Servia outlasted a challenge from Glock for fourth, leaving Glock to content himself with his second top-five run of the year. Veteran Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) ended up in the sixth slot with Nelson Philippe (#34 Wellbox Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) closed his year with a career-best seventh-place finish.


Paul Tracy: "Probably the end result didn't come out as well. You know, it was a frustrating day for us. I made a good start, got by AJ. I was in second place. Somebody touched me in the back tire, punctured it. Came in, changed it and that put us three-quarters of a lap behind. We got a pit stop out of the way. The yellow came out, which really played into our hands. On the restart with Rodolfo, we were fighting and ended up touching. I gave him a flat tire. That kind of led into me blocking AJ on the track and trying to keep him behind me. After that, pretty much thought we were out of it. Then we started to catch up. Passed some guys. We got a couple lucky yellows at the end. I had a lot of 'push to pass' left, was able to make positions back. So good result. "

A.J. Allmendinger: "You know, I mean, as Justin and I would admit, we've probably given away a couple 1-2 finishes this year we should have had. To finally give Carl a 1-2 finish, I think it's absolutely fantastic. You see the tears that come down his face after we do well, you can see how much he cares. For us as a team, I think it's important to know that your team owner is behind you that much. I've been with him from the start. He's just been a hundred percent behind this team."

Justin Wilson: "It feels great. I just want to carry on from what AJ was saying. Friday we really struggled. AJ was fantastic. I saw his setup. We kind of evolved each other and were able to work together like that to try different things, see if it works. If it doesn't work, we got the other car to back up on. That's what we did this weekend. It's great. The team have done a fantastic job, like AJ said. They really deserved the 1-2. Hopefully we can get a few more next year."


* The three-day event attendance for Mexico City was reported at 271,569, raising the per-event attendance to a Champ Car record 150,679. This is the first time in series history that Champ Car has drawn more than 150,000 per event for a season.

* Sebastien Bourdais completed 1,300 of 1,310 laps this season, for a finishing percentage of 99.24 percent. This is the fourth-best single-season completion percentage in series history.

* With Nelson Philippe's seventh-place finish, France clinched its first Nation's Cup championship, beating Canada by 24 points.

* Andrew Ranger earned a $50,000 year-end bonus and a trip to the podium in tonight's Champ Car Awards banquet by taking the 10th position in the series point standings. Ranger's ninth-place finish and his point earned for gaining the most positions in a race gave him the 10th spot by a single point over Ronnie Bremer and Cristiano da Matta.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Jimmy Vasser , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Rodolfo Lavin , Nelson Philippe , Ronnie Bremer , Andrew Ranger , Timo Glock , Cristiano da Matta