POINTS LEADER SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS MAKES SECOND CAREER ATTEMPT AT FOUR STRAIGHT CHAMP CAR WINS AS SERIES HEADS TO MONTREAL INDIANAPOLIS (August 24, 2005) -- Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford points leader Sebastien...
POINTS LEADER SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS MAKES SECOND CAREER ATTEMPT AT FOUR STRAIGHT CHAMP CAR WINS AS SERIES HEADS TO MONTREAL
INDIANAPOLIS (August 24, 2005) -- Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford points leader Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will be chasing history while the rest of the field will be chasing him as the as the series heads to Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve for this weekend's Molson Indy Montreal.
Bourdais will be trying to join an elite club of drivers in Montreal as he looks to score his fourth consecutive Champ Car victory -- a streak that has been matched only eight times in the long history of Champ Car racing. Bourdais will be looking to join such fabled names as Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt and all three members of the championship-winning Unser family (Al Sr., Al Jr. and Bobby), as well as Alex Zanardi and Cristiano da Matta (#21 Bell Micro Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) as the only drivers to string together at least four consecutive Champ Car wins.
A victory in Montreal -- a track Bourdais has yet to finish better than 15th on -- would do far more than put him in the record books however, as a fourth straight win would put him in the proverbial driver's seat in his quest for a second straight Champ Car World Series title. Bourdais leads Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) by 53 points heading into this weekend, which is the 10th race on the 14-event schedule. The Newman/Haas driver saw his series lead nearly double in Denver as his win was coupled with a Tracy crash that left him 16th in the final results. This will be the second time that Bourdais has tried for four consecutive wins, having won three straight last season before a fifth-place run in Vancouver ended the streak.
Tracy has had more luck than Bourdais at Montreal, having finished in the top six in each of his three previous Montreal starts, although he has yet to finish on the podium or lead a single lap at the 2.709-mile permanent road course. Tracy has used strong qualifying results to stay in contention this year, qualifying in the top five in each of the year's nine events, but his three DNFs have allowed Bourdais -- who has completed all but one of the series laps this year -- to build his advantage.
Based on prior history, Bourdais' teammate Oriol Servia (#2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), may be the biggest threat to the points leader in Montreal. Servia finished second in the 2003 Montreal event after starting on the outside of the front row, and has finished in the top four in each of his last five races in 2005. His recent run has vaulted him into third in the series point standings where he stands just 66 points behind his teammate. Only Bourdais has scored more points (143-129) than Servia in the last five races, sparking his move up the points ladder.
Tracy's Forsythe Championship Racing teammate Mario Dominguez (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is making a second-half move that could equal Servia's charge, building a streak of three consecutive top-five runs. His run was capped in Denver with a second-place finish that earned him his first podium trip of the season and also boosted him into the top five in points for the first time since the season opener. Dominguez has a Montreal streak going as well as a fifth-place finish in 2003 was followed by a third-place result last season.
Alex Tagliani (#15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) returns to his home track as the Montreal-born driver looks to atone for a victory that got away in 2003. The Team Australia driver led a Montreal race-record 52 laps from pole in the '03 event and was the class of the field before fuel issues caused him to pit off sequence and eventually cost him the race. Tied for seventh in the title hunt, Tagliani has never started deeper than eighth in Montreal and has a victory to his credit, that coming in the 1999 Toyota Atlantic event.
The RuSPORT crew heads to Montreal looking to carry a bit of Denver momentum with it. A.J. Allmendinger (#10 Western Union Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) ended a tough stretch with a podium finish in Denver, and visits a Montreal track where he qualified on the outside of the front row a year ago. He won from pole on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Toyota Atlantic competition in 2003 and is looking to slip back into the top five after falling one point behind Dominguez in Denver.
Allmendinger's teammate Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has two years worth of Montreal experience as well, one in Champ Car and one in Formula 1, and hopes to rebound after a first-lap crash left him 17th in Denver. Wilson is fourth in the points chase, just four markers behind the third-placed Servia.
A number of teams are hoping to use Montreal to build on strong Denver results, as Rocketsports, HVM Racing and Dale Coyne Racing all came away with reasons for optimism. Ryan Hunter-Reay (#31 Red Paw Systems Inc. Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) made up 11 spots in Denver to place a season-best sixth while Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year leader Timo Glock (#8 DHL Global Mail Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) had his first podium finish in his grasp until a mechanical problem dashed his hopes just nine laps from the finish.
HVM Racing scored its first top-five run of the season in Denver as third-year veteran Rodolfo Lavin (#55 HVM Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) wheeled his machine home in the fifth spot. Lavin will be making his third start of the season in the HVM car and has three prior Montreal races on his resume as well, placing 11th a year ago.
Dale Coyne's latest find has been one of the best stories of the season as Ronnie Bremer (#19 American Medical Response Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has picked up the chase and is just two points out of the rookie points lead despite running just eight of the previous nine events. Bremer has started 16th in each of the last three races but has finished seventh or better in each one, moving into the top 10 in the overall point standings. Not since 2001 has a driver who did not start every race earn a berth in the final top 10, but not only is the Danish rookie 10th in the standings, he is just two points out of ninth with a 13-point cushion on da Matta in 11th.
Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will have the attention of many of the Montreal faithful as the 18-year old Canadian makes his first Champ Car start on the famed Montreal course. Ranger broke a string of three DNFs with a top-10 run in Denver and is third in the rookie points chase. He knows his way around the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, finishing fifth there a year ago in the Toyota Atlantic race.
Nelson Philippe (#34 Wellbox Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) continued his improvement in Denver, matching a career high again with a ninth-place finish. The Frenchman has top-10 finishes in three of his last four starts, matching the longest streak of his young career.
Marcus Marshall (#5 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is another young driver that will be hoping to build on recent success. The Australian driver scored the first top-10 finish of his blossoming career in Edmonton, and gained six spots in finishing 12th in San Jose and in Denver. He has gained positions from his grid spot in each of the nine races this season.
The fourth running of the Molson Indy Montreal is set to take place Friday-Sunday, August 26-28, with practice and qualifying set for both Friday and Saturday. The Champ Car race will get the green flag at 1:45 p.m. local time on Sunday and can be seen live on NBC beginning at 1:30 p.m. Eastern.