Pacificare driver Junqueira'S 13th place finish in the Molson Indy Montreal dropped him 28 points from championship lead; Lilly driver Bourdais retired in last place after differential failure. - PacifiCare driver Bruno Junqueira lost another...
Pacificare driver Junqueira'S 13th place finish in the Molson Indy Montreal dropped him 28 points from championship lead; Lilly driver Bourdais retired in last place after differential failure.
- PacifiCare driver Bruno Junqueira lost another eight points of ground in the Championship fight when he failed to score points for only the third time this season in the Molson Indy Montreal after he spun twice and ultimately finished 13th place, one lap down. The highlight of his race was the fact that he set the fastest race lap on Lap 69 of 75. With five races to go in the 2003 Champ Car World Series, Junqueira is 28 points behind leader Paul Tracy (192-164) who coasted across the finish line in sixth place and out of fuel. Michel Jourdain closed his gap to seven points behind Junqueira with his second career victory.
At the start of the 75-lap event on the 2.709-mile road course, Junqueira held his third place starting position through a yellow from Laps 7 to 9 when Ryan Hunter-Reay spun and stalled. He held his position through the restart and until Lap 12 when he spun in the Turn 10 hairpin section and returned to the track in eighth place. He held the position until the maximum pit window of Lap 20 and pitted with the majority of the field. He returned to the race in 12th place but in eighth place behind those on the same pit strategy. On lap 28 he moved into 11th place when teammate Sebastien Bourdais pitted and subsequently retired with differential failure. Four cars pitted on Lap 29 and he moved into seventh place. Once pole sitter and race leader Alex Tagliani made his pit stop one lap earlier than those on his pit strategy, Junqueira moved into sixth place for a couple of laps before he made his second stop on Lap 40. He returned to the track in eighth place (sixth place Fernandez had yet to pit) but spun in the same portion of the race track on Lap 45 and brought out the caution flag. As he had stalled the car, he had to wait for the Simple Green Safety Team to push start him and went one lap down to the leaders before they were able to accomplish the task. He pitted on Lap 45 to check for damage and as there was none he returned to the track after taking on fuel and four new tires, mandatory for a CART pit stop. Because the field was still slowed by the caution period and he was now in last place the team elected to bring him back in to replace the cold tires with faster, warm ones that were removed on the previous stop. He returned to the race in 18th place and had moved into 14th by Lap 57. Once the leaders made their next stop on Lap 60 he was able to get back on the lead lap. His final pit stop came on Lap 70 of 75 and he returned to the track in 14th place. On Lap 72, Jimmy Vasser pitted and retired with gearbox problems and Junqueira moved into his finishing position of 13th place. With 23 points maximum available at the next event in Denver, he hopes to do as he did in 2002 and lead every lap from pole en route to victory.
Following are his post race comments:
"I am frustrated more than I can explain," said Junqueira. "I was too close to the guy in front of me and lost the downforce. I locked my rear tires and spun twice. A good finish was important today. It gets more and more important the closer we get to the end of the championship."
- Lilly driver Sebastien Bourdais dropped from fourth to fifth place in the Champ Car World Series championship standings after he failed to score points in the 75-lap Molson Indy Montreal due to differential failure after he completed 28 of 75 laps. Under clear sunny skies, Bourdais began the race in sixth place. On the first lap, points leader Paul Tracy moved from his starting spot of eighth place into sixth and ahead of Bourdais. Bourdais maintained seventh place through a caution period for Ryan Hunter-Reay who spun and stalled. On Lap 12 he moved into sixth when teammate and third place runner Junqueira spun and continued in eighth place. He moved into fifth on Lap 19 when polesitter and race leader Alex Tagliani made an early pit stop. Bourdais made his first of three mandatory pit stops each 20 laps on Lap 20 and returned to the event in 9th place. On Lap 26 CART's Race Control informed the team that Bourdais had to yield one position to 10th place runner Mario Dominguez due to having violated Rule 6.7.27 which concerns Pit Lane protocol. They ruled that Bourdais had unfairly passed Dominguez departing pit lane. He was not able to serve the penalty however as he immediately informed the team that he had a mechanical problem and entered the pits. A pit lane inspection determined that the differential had failed. It was his fourth DNF (did not finish) of the season. Patrick Carpentier was able to move ahead of Bourdais in the point standings with his third place finish, and Bourdais dropped to fifth with 126 points to leader Tracy's 192. Following are his post race comments:
"The car kept getting tighter and tighter as the race went on," said Bourdais. "Then the rear wheels locked and it was not turning anymore. That's why the car was not driveable. The differential broke. Since the beginning of the year we have had some mechanical problems. That's just the way it is. It's probably not my year."
- Next Up...The Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will travel to the Mile High city of Denver for the Centrix Financial GP of Denver where Junqueira is the defending winner.