CHAMPCAR/CART: Montreal: Lola race report

A Day of Records For Lola Cars and its Drivers Junqueira earns first 2004 victory and Lola's 150th to tighten point chase This season's Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford has been difficult for championship...

A Day of Records For Lola Cars and its Drivers
Junqueira earns first 2004 victory and Lola's 150th to tighten point chase

This season's Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford has been difficult for championship contender Bruno Junqueira, driver of Newman/Haas Racing's #6 PacifiCare Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone Champ car. Hounding point leader and teammate Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald's Lola) as the Frenchman racked up six pole positions and five wins has been tough without a victory of his own.

Today the Brazilian's luck changed, as he arrived first at the checkered flags in the Molson Indy Montreal, a 69-lap romp over the 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the city's Ile Notre Dame on an overcast day. "I think the luck came to my side at least once, and I'm quite happy of that, Junqueira said. I'm never going to give up, work very hard and try to catch Sebastien for the championship. When the two strongest guys on the race track (Bourdais and Dominguez) had problems it gave me the opportunity to lead the race," which he did for 25 laps. Junqueira lies 34 points behind Bourdais, who retired in 15th due to contact.

Recording the 150th Lola (and his sixth) victory in Champ Car competition, Junqueira vanquished local favorite Patrick Carpentier in the #7 Indeck Lola by 6.382 seconds who thought, "My Lola was fast in the race. I know some guys had bad luck, but I've had a bit of bad luck in the last few races so I'll take this one."

Third step on the podium went to Mario Dominguez' #55 Herdez Lola, who suffered from a poor pit stop and back cramps late in the contest yet aggressively fought his way to the front. The top 12 finishers used Lola chassis to make their ways to the checkered flags including owner/driver Jimmy Vasser, making his record 193rd Champ Car start in the #12 Gulfstream Lola and coming from 11th to take eighth place.

"We are delighted to reach this significant landmark of 150 Champ car wins, which re-emphasizes our Lola philosophy of continuing excellence and technical achievement in one of the world's most exciting single-seat championships," declared Lola Group chairman Martin Birrane.

"Lola have been staunch supporters of the series and from the our first 1983 race win (at Elkhart Lake's Road America) by Mario Andretti to this latest Bruno Junqueira [and Newman/Haas] victory at Montreal we would like to congratulate all our customers for their on-going commitment to winning. We can assure them Lola's extensive technical capabilities ensure a continuation of this winning trend for many years to come," Birrane explained.

Behind Dominguez in third place, 2003 champion Paul Tracy came fourth in the #1 Indeck Lola after recovering from contact and bent suspension at the start of the race. He was followed by rookie A.J. Allmendinger, whose afternoon in the #10 Western Union Lola was a roller-coaster ride. Allmendinger led his first ten Champ Car laps after recovering from a first lap puncture, faced double penalties, overcame one, had the second reversed and still finished fifth, extending his Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year lead.

Reversal of fortune stories like those enacted during Sunday's Molson Indy Montreal are endemic to the history of Lola Cars which was, itself under siege in the latter part of the 1990s. With the change of ownership to Birrane's Lola Group and renewed faith in the brand, Lola Cars reached the 100-win Champ Car mark with Kenny Brack and Team Rahal on the historic Milwaukee Mile in June of 2001.

"We are gratified by the continuing faith in our product and engineering by the Champ Car community over the years," noted Jeff Swartwout, head of Lola Cars International USA. "The best Champ Car teams and drivers choose Lola cars; we are dedicated to ensuring their success. That our longtime friends and partners Newman/Haas Racing and Bruno Junqueira attained win #150 makes this accomplishment even sweeter. We look forward to many more productive years with our associates at Champ Car."

The Grand Prix of Monterey, race #11 in this year's Champ Car World Series campaign takes place September 12th at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in central California.

-lola-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Kenny Brack , Gilles Villeneuve , Sébastien Bourdais , Martin Birrane