ROBERT DOORNBOS SCORES FIRST CHAMP CAR WIN Mont-Tremblant, Quebec (July 1, 2007) -- A new star arrived emphatically on the Champ Car scene today, as The Netherland's Robert Doornbos took his first Series victory at the...
ROBERT DOORNBOS SCORES FIRST CHAMP CAR WIN
Mont-Tremblant, Quebec (July 1, 2007) -- A new star arrived emphatically on the Champ Car scene today, as The Netherland's Robert Doornbos took his first Series victory at the Grand Prix of Mont-Tremblant, and notched his fifth podium finish in six starts. This marks the shortest amount of time it has taken a rookie to win a Champ Car race since 1992, and makes him the first rookie to win a Champ Car event since 2002. It was not an easy victory for Doornbos, though, who had to deal with treacherously changeable conditions throughout the race. He moved to the head of the field for the final time on lap 53, after leader, Simon Pagenaud, had a brief off-course excursion, and was never headed, despite considerable pressure over the closing laps from reigning champion, Sebastien Bourdais. Once he crossed the finish line, the "Flying Dutchman" took the time to thank his crew for their part in the win, and even sang "Happy Birthday" to team co-owner, Keith Wiggins. Doornbos now heads into next weekend's Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto tied in points for the lead of the Champ Car World Series.
"It was spectacular! What a great feeling to win! I am very happy for the team, and I feel that they deserve it, and I deserve it, and I couldn't be happier. We have been fast all weekend and I knew we could win, but with the changing weather conditions it was very difficult. The circuit was changing so much, and everyone was fighting for positions, but we came out on top in the end and that's all that matters. As for Sebastien's comments about me, I'm not that concerned. Champ Car officials do not feel I did anything wrong, and I'm sure if they did, they would have penalized me, like they did in Cleveland. I respect the fact that the rules here are different and I stayed true to them. If Sebastien feels that he could have passed me, then he should have done it. Nothing can spoil this victory today, and I'm thrilled for all of my team, and especially glad to give this special birthday gift to my team owner Keith Wiggins. I think the rest of the Championship is going to be very tight, and this win today proves that we are a front-running team."
'Speedy' Dan lived up to his moniker, climbing from tenth to fifth place on the opening lap, and was turning lap times on a par with the leaders. He had climbed as high as third place, running on the same pace as Justin Wilson and team mate, Doornbos, in front of him when a suspected drivetrain failure forced him into retirement.
'Speedy' Dan Clarke
"I'm disappointed not to have won today, as we had a strong car, especially in the wet and the mixed conditions we experienced this afternoon. We knew we could take the lead at the next stop, but the car broke before that, so I guess all you can say is that it just wasn't meant to be on this occasion. If I couldn't win, though, then the next best thing is for the team to win, and I'm therefore very happy for Robert and Minardi Team USA."
PAUL STODDART, TEAM CO-OWNER
"What a f****** race! Robert and the team did an absolutely superb job in the trickiest of conditions today to take Minardi Team USA's first win in the Champ Car World Series. The team had the speed throughout the weekend, but obviously the highly changeable weather conditions added an extra element of uncertainty to the race. As ever, though, Robert drove with his head, and put in a faultless performance today for the first of what I'm sure will be many more victories. In celebrating the win, though, we can't forget Dan's performance. He made his usual strong start, and a podium finish was definitely on the cards had a mechanical problem not intervened. Today's result was a team effort and my congratulations therefore go to everyone at Minardi Team USA for a job well done."
KEITH WIGGINS, TEAM CO-OWNER
"It's to state the obvious, but this was a great race for Robert. The car and the driver were in good shape throughout the race, and there was just one pit stop that wasn't up to our usual standard. Such were the conditions, however, that he won back the lost ground. Clearly, Robert did the best job today, and he was quicker than Sebastien in the changeable conditions."