DOORNBOS EARNS FIRST CHAMP CAR VICTORY AFTER WET AND WILD DAY IN MONT-TREMBLANT Experienced Rookie Moves into Tie for Championship Lead with Bourdais MONT-TREMBLANT, QUEBEC, CANADA (July 1, 2007) -- It was anything but a Canada Day parade on...
DOORNBOS EARNS FIRST CHAMP CAR VICTORY AFTER WET AND WILD DAY IN
Experienced Rookie Moves into Tie for Championship Lead with Bourdais
MONT-TREMBLANT, QUEBEC, CANADA (July 1, 2007) -- It was anything but a Canada Day parade on Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant as Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) battled the weather as well as open wheel's best drivers to claim his first career Champ Car victory. The 25-year-old Dutchman was involved in wheel-to-wheel fights throughout the day and emerged victorious on the 2.62-mile mountainous circuit in the heart of the Laurentians.
The start of the race was far from spectacular for the front row as Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay By Touch-Megaspiera Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) failed to roll off the grid with an electrical problem and Team Australia's Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) stalled when the lights extinguished. Both drivers would join the race at the back of the field with Gommendy losing two laps on pit lane making the necessary repairs and Power getting restarted before he lost a lap.
The quiet Australian then slowly started to work his way through the field making an impressive pass of Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) on lap 14 for the tenth position. The entire field would then cycle through pit stops under green before Jan Heylen (#34 Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) brought out a full course yellow bunching the field up behind the leader Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who had built a 10 second lead.
A drizzling rain fell over the track during the caution period and as the field came to the green on the restart, the three-time champion Bourdais made an uncharacteristic mistake sliding off at the notorious Turn 14 known locally as "Namerow" and rejoining near the back. That mistake gave Doornbos the lead for the first time but problems in the pit on the next stop moved him back in the field once again. With intermittent and sometimes heavy rain falling, the drivers were struggling to find grip. Power spun on his own in Turn 5 while he was running second and Englishman Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) took full advantage of the conditions passing three cars and moving from fifth to second on Lap 43. As the rain continued to get heavier the entire field pitted for the grooved Bridgestone Potenza rain tires trying to gain as much traction as they could.
Wilson took over the lead on pit lane and was starting to drive away before a costly mistake in Turn 8 handed the lead to rookie Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone). The young Frenchman was doing yeoman's duty at the front of the field trying to balance grip with speed but unfortunately was bit like his countryman Bourdais, by "Namerow." Pagenaud was able to rejoin in fourth position just behind his teammate Power. Doornbos inherited the lead on lap 53 and was beginning to pull away before the final full course yellow brought Bourdais right back to his tail. The caution set-up a five lap duel between Doornbos and Bourdais with the experienced rookie able to hold off the champion with Will Power claiming his third podium finish.
Power and Simon Pagenaud not only overcame difficulities at the start to earn third and fourth place finishes respectively but put Team Australia in the drivers seat after the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. The dynamic duo averaged a finish of 3.5, one full position ahead of the Newman/Haas/Lanigan pair of Sebastien Bourdais and Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone). Sitting in third position in the triple crown standings are RSPORTS teammates Justin Wilson and Canadian Alex Tagliani (#8 Tide @ Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) with an average combined finish of sixth.
With the win Doornbos moves into a tie with Bourdais for the series championship lead at 145 points. Will Power is third just 14 points in arrears with RSPORTS teammates Justin Wilson and Alex Tagliani fourth and fifth.
There is no rest for the weary as the teams and drivers move to their third race in as many weeks with the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto. Round 7 on the Champ Car World Series calendar will take place on the temporary circuit built at Exhibition Place. Practice and qualifying for the event begins Friday, July 6 with the race starting on Sunday, July 8 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern with live coverage provided in the United States by ESPN and on Global and RDS in Canada. Fans can also watch all of the exciting action via the official website of the Champ Car World Series, www.champcar.ws.
For free video content from Champ Car World Series, please log on to www.thenewsmarket.com/ChampCar to preview and request video. You can receive broadcast-standard video digitally or by tape from this site. Registration and video is free to the media.
QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE FINISHERS
Robert Doornbos: "Spectacular, it's a great feeling obviously. It's a new car, so that had a little bit of advantage last winter when I made the decision to come to Champ Car and combine it with my F1 activities with Red Bull. I was nervous because it's a new series, new circuits. I don't know the tracks. I don't know the drivers. I know they're competitive. But the team was also new in the takeover. So, yeah, nothing was really in my favor. Yeah, I think we worked very hard during test sessions. And Michael Cannon deserves all the credit, my engineer. He's helping me through the race. He has so much experience winning, running at the front. It makes life easy for me. I feel very comfortable. I feel that I'm in control with the team. I can motivate them. Obviously the results, the mechanics, they deserve it as well. Yeah, I think we can continue like this."
Sebastien Bourdais: "I guess in our bad luck we got a little lucky in the conditions, getting out of sync, cycling back to the front helped us. It's a bit of a shame. Obviously the McDonald's car was really, really good under dry conditions. Had it stayed this way, I think it was going to be a really, really good day for us. The boys had done a terrific job and the car was very, very good. We were getting good fuel mileage and good pace. Then under the yellow, when the track started to get wet, you know, in some places, and they decided to restart the race, I was like, oh, boy that's going to be tough. I was the first one to discover the slippery conditions and I made a mistake. I went for the restart in 14. I wasn't really quick, but the car went straight and ended up in the gravel. That was disappointing, but I knew the race was going to be long and we kept fighting for it. After that, the condition kept getting trickier and trickier. All of a sudden we saw ourselves in wets and close to the front. So it was looking fairly good. Just Robert passed me very cleanly on the track. Just left the door open. I was kind of hoping he was going to do the same when at some point I was a little quicker behind him. But that's not what he did. That's the only reason I was very unhappy with him."
Will Power: "I went past my grid, so I had to get it in reverse, trying to get it into first gear. By the time I look up, the third red lights are on. Straight to the floor realizing the light's going to go out in a sec. I think the reason I stalled is because the turbo did not spool. So I stalled. Looked in my mirrors. People just missing me. I mean, I thought there was going to be a big accident. So I took off and went into a lot of fuel save. We ended up -- I think we were running second for a while. This track is just so ridiculous with the weather. It's completely dry and sunny in one spot, then you get to the next corner and it's raining. I spun. I think I went to the back again. Then there was, you know, a big scuffle of about five or six cars for the lead. Everyone in the pits got wets. The car was all right in the wet, you know. I think it was a lot about driving because everybody had the dry setup on. We ended up third. The good thing about Champ Car is you just never give up. It's great like that. I mean, you can almost go a lap down and then come back and finish on the podium. It's just really, really good racing."