CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Series race report

FOUR SCORE! SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS MAKES HISTORY DOWN UNDER Frenchman clinches unprecedented fourth consecutive Champ Car World Series title in Australia Bourdais' second career win at Surfers Paradise breaks streak of no repeat winners in ...

Frenchman clinches unprecedented fourth consecutive Champ Car World Series title in Australia

Bourdais' second career win at Surfers Paradise breaks streak of no repeat winners in Oz
Rookie Robert Doornbos clinched Rookie of the year title

SURFERS PARADISE, AUSTRALIA (October 21, 2007) -- Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) solidified his legendary status as a Champ Car World Series driver by locking up his fourth consecutive Series title with an impressive victory Down Under at the Lexmark Indy 300.

The Frenchmen, who is set to depart Champ Car to pursue a career in Formula One next season, will have left his name in many places in the record book. With his 30th career victory today, the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing driver became the first driver in history to win four consecutive Champ Car World Series titles, a feat that is very rare in professional sports. In fact it has never been done in either NASCAR or NFL and it hasn't been done in the last twenty years in the NBA, NHL or MLB.

To add to his already long list of records, Bourdais also became the first repeat winner in the 17 year history of the Surfers Paradise event. Bourdais had previously won Down Under in 2005. The race started off well for Bourdais who moved up one position from his fourth place on the grid when Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Oriol Servia (#22 Pay By Touch / PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) touched, sending Tracy spinning.

While Tracy was making his way up through the field, Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was building a lead up front after starting on pole. Tracy was pushing a little too hard and touched the tire bundle in Turn 7 which took out the yellow flag. With the yellow came the first round of pit stops. Tracy, Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Bruno Junqueira (#19 Sonny's Bar-B-Q Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) elected to stay out while the rest of the field headed down pit lane.

The first round of pits stops were not incident-free. Race leader Power was exiting his pit box when David Martinez (#7 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was entering his and contact ensued, sending Power to the rear of the field. Power would later on fall out of the race after he and Katherine Legge (#11 Dale Coyne Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) came together when the Australian was trying to get by her.

Bourdais picked up the lead when Tracy pitted on lap 20. The Frenchman maintained his lead until his second pit stop on lap 32. Bourdais came out in second but was quickly overtaken by Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone). However Bourdais retook his position in front of the field when Wilson pitted on lap 44. After that, the four time champ never looked back and kept putting in fast laps building a gap over Wilson. When Bourdais pitted for a final time on lap 48 he was able to maintain his lead on the Briton and clinch an unprecedented fourth straight title.

Tracy was running third when he had to pit for fuel on the last lap which enabled Junqueira to score a third consecutive podium finish. It was the Brazilian's 100th start and 34th career podium. Rookie Doornbos came home in fourth and clinched the Rookie of the year title while Team Australia's Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was fifth.

Nelson Philippe (#34 Juniper Soul Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) finished sixth in his return with Conquest Racing. Alex Tagliani (#8 PBS Equities Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) Neel Jani (#21 Red Bull / Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), Tracy, and Martinez rounded out the top-ten.

Next up for the Champ Car World Series will be the season finale in Mexico City on November 11, 2007. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN 2 at 2:00 p.m. eastern time.


Sebastien Bourdais: "Well, it's been quite an above average day, I should say. You know, it's just the success of an awesome group of people within that McDonald's team. We started that relationship back in 2003. Just all the results really speak for themselves. You know, it's how good these guys are. And they proved it today again when we came in the pits in third and came out first. From there, it was in my hands to try to make it stick. We had a great fight with Justin when he short-filled and got ahead of us. Then we had to, you know, stay with him with a heavier car, and we pulled it off. Then coming to that last corner, it's just all the emotions flowing through your mind. Just you realize how much has come to you and how much you've achieved with these guys and you get the sense that it's coming to an end very closely now. What a fun five years it's been. I'm surely not going to forget about it any time soon."

Justin Wilson: "We had a few problems at the start as well. I let the clutch out. Everything was good. I was just getting a little bit of wheel spin. When I went to shift from first to second, I ended up in neutral. A couple of guys went by me. I was quite frustrated at that point. Then Paul went off at the first corner. You know, it was just a matter of staying calm and not doing anything stupid. This race is always that way. After I think the first yellow, there were three people on the same strategy I was, or two people in front of me. I was running third behind Oriol and Sebastien. I was pretty comfortable with that. We were working out when to save fuel, when to push. Then I was behind Oriol when he hit the wall at turn two. He hit it pretty hard. That allowed me to get on a roll. I got a run on him into turn five. After that, it was just a case of running down Sebastien. The car was working well."

Bruno Junqueira: "Today we had a very eventful day. I was third behind Sebastien and Justin. My car felt very good in the warm-up, much better than in practice and qualifications. I was very confident. But two hours before the race, my mechanics found an oil leak in the engine. So I had to change the engine in a hurry. We put a fresh engine in the car. The car was ready just two minutes before the start of the race. On the start, because you do the out lap without going full throttle, trying to save fuel on the parade lap, I don't know, when I went full throttle, I lift the clutch the way I usually do, the car just bogged down and stalled. I was first very lucky that nobody hit me from behind. Then the safety team did a very good job to start me. Then I kept racing. I started the race. I was like 57 seconds behind the leaders and realized I had to save fuel. We were very close on the last three races. That put us in a good position in the championship. The team did a great job today on the pit stop and strategy. My car was very good, very fast, not just today, throughout the whole weekend. I'm enjoying a lot."

Simon Pagenaud: "We had a very good car. The car was just fantastic all race. Just the race is not as good as it should be, the fuel save mode, because all race, I just save fuel and not push a hundred percent. It was pretty disappointing I would say from a racing point of view. I think we need to work on that for next year to make the race a bit more interesting for the drivers and the fans also. But I was really pleased because we worked really well on that car during the practice and in qualifying. In the race I had a really good car. It was very fun to drive. I was also very pleased to see so much Team Australia flags on the side of the track. I could even see it when driving. It was really nice. It's great to feel so much support coming here."

Will Power: "Once again in the first stint we had to pit under yellow. All the cars are compressed. There's a lot of mayhem in the pit lane. Unfortunately, I got sent out early. Just a simple mistake. The guy left a lollypop and sent into another car, which bent the steering arm, then we're on the back foot. From that point on, the steering wasn't straight. The suspension was slightly bent. So the car wasn't behaving exactly how it should. Then I was trying to charge back through the field, got a run on Katherine Legge. I guess the car stepped out a little bit and grabbed her back wheel and threw me into the wall. A disappointing day. You know, once again, the same as last year, we have the car, had everything in place to win the race, but, you know, just bad luck. These things happen. Feel disappointed for all the fans that came out to watch us today. Feel disappointed for Craig Gore, as well. Unfortunately he couldn't be here. You know, we'll lift above it, move on. We've got to race in Mexico. Try and win that one."

-credit: ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Bruno Junqueira , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos , Katherine Legge , David Martinez , Nelson Philippe , Neel Jani , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud , Dale Coyne
Teams Conquest Racing , Dale Coyne Racing