Junqueira's jinx junked wins delayed, wet Road America race Bruno Junqueira was the survivor of a wet, delayed and shortened Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America presented by Briggs & Stratton, bringing his ...
Junqueira's jinx junked wins delayed, wet Road America race
Bruno Junqueira was the survivor of a wet, delayed and shortened Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America presented by Briggs & Stratton, bringing his #1 PacifiCare Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone Champ Car to the checkers just .703 seconds before his pursuing teammate Sebastien Bourdais in the #2 Lilly Lola. Alex Tagliani earned third after a difficult weekend and 13th starting spot in the #33 Johnson Controls Lola, 10.883 seconds behind the winner.
"I knew I had to win a race and had my best shot here," Junqueira stated. "It was a perfect day to end a perfect weekend," as Newman/Haas Racing took their 69th Lola win in the firm's 135th Champ Car victory. Bourdais' team "chose the setup for the race knowing the conditions," and he closed the gap by four seconds in the final five laps, setting the fastest tour of the 4.048-mile road course. Tagliani "started the race on an 85% wet setup and I was quite happy with the race. I passed a lot of guys today."
The race was a stop-and-go affair as rain inundated the Elkhart Lake, WI area, forcing the 19-car field to begin under caution. Two red flags partitioned the event and the final, 23-lap sprint began at nearly 5:45PM. Junqueira would lead all laps under yellow and green, gaining a three-point advantage over Paul Tracy, who failed to finish the event, as did Michel Jourdain Jr., both of whom retired due to contact on lap 11. Thirteen of 19 starters completed the abbreviated 34 laps of 60 scheduled for this event, round #12 of the 19-race campaign.
Max Papis scored a fine fourth in the #27 Scientific American PK Racing Lola and acknowledged under the "difficult conditions, determination and the will to succeed came out in everybody. We never gave up," after starting 16th. Patrick Carpentier overcame a difficult pit stop with front air jack failure, to gain fifth place in the #32 Team Player's Lola. "We had too much downforce, so were slow on the straight. We ran well in the curves and I'm positive I could have been able to hold my position had I been in third place," he said.
The Champ cars venture to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course next weekend for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio on 10 August.