CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Lola race report

Bourdais earns second straight title with Surfers victory Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais needed only to start the 15th annual Lexmark Indy 300 in order to become Champ Car World Series champion for a second...

Bourdais earns second straight title with Surfers victory

Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais needed only to start the 15th annual Lexmark Indy 300 in order to become Champ Car World Series champion for a second consecutive year, but the driver of Newman/Haas Racing's #1 Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone racer did so in grand style, leading the most laps (38), setting a record-breaking fastest tour of the 2.795-mile street course (109.295mph) and becoming the 15th different victor in this seminal event.

Bourdais was elated to have won and taken possession of the Vanderbilt Cup for a second straight year after posting a 9.130-second margin of victory after 57 hard-fought laps over sophomore A.J. Allmendinger in the #10 Intel Lola from RuSPORT. Recovering from a near-calamitous first lap collision with teammate Oriol Servia Bourdais "really had to win this race because it would have been terrible" if nemesis Paul Tracy had won after leading 19 laps. Bourdais was able to stick with Tracy, catch and pass him with excellent fuel mileage. "My Lola was responding really well and it was just like a flying lap every lap" before his final pit stop. "I really wanted to win and win in style," he commented.

Allmendinger held onto fifth in the title run by taking runner-up slot for a third time this year. "It was a great race for us and our Lola was awesome. My crew did a great job and gave me the best Lola on the track except for Sebastien, who seemed to be on another planet," the California native explained. Racing conservatively in the first part of the race gave Allmendinger the "opportunity to push harder," but Bourdais was already gone.

Veteran and 1996 Australian victor Jimmy Vasser brought the #12 Gulfstream Lola home third, 31.852 seconds in arrears to lie sixth in points, one behind Allmendinger. "We are in a tight race with A.J. and Mario Dominguez for fifth in the championship, so it looks like it's going to come down to the final race," Vasser acknowledged. Alex Tagliani finished fourth in the #15 Aussie Vineyards Lola after recovering from a get-together with new teammate Will Power, while Oriol Servia rounded out the top five with his #2 PacifiCare Lola, coming back from 17th after the first lap altercation. Ten of thirteen finishers were on the lead lap; four of the five retirements were due to contact.

The Champ Car 2005 season finale takes place November 6th at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez with the Telmex/Tecate Gran Premio de Mexico City presented by Banamex

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Will Power