CHAMPCAR/CART: San Jose: Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing race report

McDONALD'S ® DRIVER BOURDAIS FINISHED FIFTH IN AN EVENTFUL GRAND PRIX OF SAN JOSE WHILE MEDI | ZONE DRIVER RAHAL FINISHED SIXTH - McDonald's ® driver Sebastien Bourdais was unable to earn a third win in his third Grand Prix of San Jose...


- McDonald's ® driver Sebastien Bourdais was  unable to earn a third win in
his third Grand Prix of San Jose event but  finished fifth after he recovered
from a rare mistake when he stalled his race  car after taking the lead from
second place on the first race lap.  His pre-race points lead of 21 over  Robert
Doornbos took a hit as the Dutchman recovered from an opening lap crash  to
win the event and only trails Bourdais by 10.  At the beginning of the event
held under  sunny skies, Bourdais made a good start and took the lead from
polesitter Justin  Wilson going into Turn 1 but went wide into Turn 2 and was
repassed.  A caution flag was brought out for  eventual winner and 15th place
starter Doornbos who ran into the back  of Jan Heylan.  During the four lap  caution
Bourdais was in too high of a gear going into a corner with too low revs  and
the car starved of fuel and died.  Once he reset the engine control he
rejoined the field in eighth  place.  The carnage continued under  caution as second
place Dan Clarke ran into race leader Wilson.  Clarke retired from the event
but  Wilson was able  to continue albeit 20 laps later having to stay in the
pits for extensive  repair.

When the race went green Bourdais was in sixth place but was passed by Will Power. He held seventh place until Lap 38 when Paul Tracy pitted for fuel and moved as high as second before his first stop on Lap 42. When he entered his pits the team found a large part of Simon Pagenaud's front wing wedged between his rear tire and rear wing. Upon entry into the pits apparently Alex Figge jumped into his pit which was at the entrance of pit lane and forced Will Power to check up before hitting him. Power hit Figge, Bourdais hit the rear of Power's car and Pagenaud hit Bourdais. Bourdais continued with a medium sized part of Power's carbon fiber slicing his front nose but part of Pagenaud's front wing was removed from his car and he returned to the track in sixth place. He held the position until the next round of stops on Lap 77 under caution for Tracy, who stopped on course due to running out of fuel and ran in sixth place once the race resumed. He moved into fifth when fourth place runner Tristan Gommendy served a drive through penalty for passing the Pace Car under caution and then maintained his position within 0.5-seconds from fourth place runner Will Power until the checkered flag after 107 laps.

"It was a tough day for the McDonald's team," said Bourdais. "I made a mistake under yellow. Actually I made the first mistake after passing Justin after making a good start. I braked on the inside at the hairpin so that I didn' t squeeze him and then had a tough time in the hairpin coming from the opposite side since I ran wide in Turn 2. Then, during the yellow I got a little greedy I guess. I just tried to save too much fuel and tried seventh gear with low revs at the hairpin and when I released the clutch the car died. It was a tough day for the McDonald's team."

- Medi | Zone driver Graham Rahal ran as high as fourth place after starting sixth in the Grand Prix of San Jose but his car stalled in the pits after his first of two stops and he finished sixth after dropping to 13th. He made a good start and was able to pull alongside and then in front of Neel Jani but had to back out of the position to avoid a possible pileup later during the opening lap and dropped back. Second place starter and teammate Sebastien Bourdais dropped back after his car temporarily shut off and second place runner Dan Clarke hit leader Justin Wilson and this enabled Rahal not to lose as many positions.

When the race returned to green conditions Rahal was in fourth place which he held for the first stint and attempted to save fuel. He was unable to hold off Alex Tagliani while running a conservative fuel strategy and the Canadian passed him for fourth on Lap 30. He regained fourth place when third place runner Tracy, who had jumped from an 11th place start into sixth on the first lap, made his first stop. His first pit on Lap 40 appeared to go smoothly but when he popped the clutch to leave the pits the car stalled. Once he was restarted he returned to the track in 13th place. By the end of the stint he had moved up to tenth place when the second round of stops began under caution to retrieve the car of Tracy, who ran out of fuel on course. Rahal pit with the majority of the field on Lap 77 and returned to the track in seventh place. He moved into sixth when Tristan fourth place runner Tristan Gommendy served a drive through penalty for passing the Pace Car under caution. He held sixth place until the checkered flag after 107 laps despite have a steering rack problem. He collected 21 points for a total of 145 and maintained his eight place rank.

"I had a pretty good start but the clutch was dragging a lot," said Rahal. "But my start was better than (Neel) Jani's and I got next to him then past him. But going into Turn 1, I played it a little too conservative because everybody was stacking up in front of me. I stuck on the inside because I didn' t want to get in the mix of someone coming down the outside and hitting me but I got held up mid corner and Tracy and those guys just went around the outside. That was disappointing but then once we got going we had plenty of pace. When we came in for the first pit stop we were thinking the car was awfully good; the best car out there. Then sure enough the car stalled. We don't know exactly why it happened but it seems it could be the torque position slot. It basically just didn't have enough RPM's. I don't believe it was anything that I did because it was the same routine as normal. From there on out it was pretty uneventful because I was just saving fuel but I also had to really had to push hard to catch the guys in front of me. We made up a lot of time to the leaders -- twenty seconds or something but that was about it for the race. The result is pretty disappointing because I thought the Medi | Zone car was a podium contender. At the end I thought about going for the fast lap but we had a little issue with the steering rack. The steering wheel was crooked so no matter how hard I pushed it didn't really work."

- Up Next: The Champ Car World Series will travel to Road America in two weeks for the Generac Grad Prix of Road America, round 10 of 16.

-credit: nhlr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Graham Rahal , Sébastien Bourdais , Alex Figge , Neel Jani , Tristan Gommendy , Will Power , Dan Clarke