CHAMPCAR/CART: Rain, hail or shine at Surfers

Race controllers were forced to postpone the penultimate round of the Bridgestone Presents Champ Car World Series for an hour as hailstones and bucketing rain flooded the challenging Surfers Paradise street circuit. Reminiscent of the ...

Race controllers were forced to postpone the penultimate round of the Bridgestone Presents Champ Car World Series for an hour as hailstones and bucketing rain flooded the challenging Surfers Paradise street circuit.

Reminiscent of the uncompromising weather conditions that plagued last year's controversial race, the downpour caused the red flag to be waved just twenty minutes after the cars rolled off the grid.

Fans were soaked as they ran for cover, their umbrellas and rain coats providing little reprieve from the heavy rain and chunks of ice falling from the sky.

Gold Coast resident Kylie Kaljo said Sunday's poor weather conditions were the only disappointment of an otherwise enjoyable experience at the four- day racing spectacle. "The weather had been so beautiful and although we had gotten a few thunderstorms at night, the days were hot and sunny. I was really hoping the rain would hold off on Sunday, at least until after the race, but I guess there's not much you can do about it."

Mexican visitor Christian Goslinga said that the rain made the race "hard, but a bit more interesting." Mr Goslinga said, "Whenever there is a race under these conditions, it puts the pressure on the drivers. It must be hard but I think it just depends on the way they handle the course."

With dark storm clouds becoming increasingly visible an hour before the race and reports of hail 10 miles south of Surfers Paradise, the weather looked ominous before the race had even began.

Official Indy photographer, Ken Sparrow, said it was just a matter of time before the storm hit. "It (the rain) had been predicted for Sunday all week, so I was expecting it. But it was pretty hard trying to get some good shots when I was getting totally drenched!"

Following an hour-long delay to ensure the track was suitable for racing, the champ cars took their positions on the grid once again to complete a shortened race of 47 laps instead of the original 65.

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Series IndyCar