CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Team Rahal race report

Jourdain claims tenth in soaking Gold Coast Indy 300. SURFERS PARADISE, AUSTRALIA . . . Michel Jourdain Jr. extended his point streak to 17 straight races with a tenth place finish while teammate Jimmy Vasser collected a points paying 12th place...

Jourdain claims tenth in soaking Gold Coast Indy 300.

SURFERS PARADISE, AUSTRALIA . . . Michel Jourdain Jr. extended his point streak to 17 straight races with a tenth place finish while teammate Jimmy Vasser collected a points paying 12th place result in Sunday's rain soaked Gold Coast Indy 300. The race was run under sporadically heavy showers which limited the race to 40 laps of which only seven were run under green.

The initial attempt to start the race was red flagged when eight cars, including both Vasser and Jourdain, were involved in a horrific crash at the start/finish line. A 75-minute delay allowed for clean-up and the respective teams to prepare their back-up cars for the restart.

The race began under yellow conditions and finally went green on lap 3. After seven laps of green the race went back to yellow when heavy rain began falling. It would never again go green.

Prior to the red flag restart, there were indications with the impending darkness and deteriorating conditions that the race wouldn't even make the reduced distance of 50 laps. Several teams, including Team Rahal, followed a pit strategy positioning themselves for success if CART called the race early. Thirty-six laps, half the original race distance, constituted an official race. On lap 34 CART race control announced a the race would end on lap 41. Team Rahal's pit strategy had been targeted at lap 37. Vasser and Jourdain pitted on lap 35 and exited the pits in their final finishing positions.

Rookie Mario Dominguez won his first Champ Car race and became the 12th different winner of the Gold Coast Indy 300. Patrick Carpentier gave Ford-Cosworth a 1-2 sweep by finishing second while Paul Tracy finished third.

The CART FedEx Championship Series heads to the California Speedway next week for the California 500. It is the seasons longest race and the first oval for the Champ Cars since they ran in Rockingham England in mid-September.

Jimmy Vasser (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola on Bridgestone tires) - "The start of the race the first time was one of the scariest moments of my life. I was trying to keep pace as the green flag came out. I saw Adrian's (Fernandez) car right in front of me and he must of checked up (braked early) because I clipped him. Suddenly I couldn't see and then someone hit me. The next thing I knew I was on my head and I saw Michael Andretti coming at me but he never reached me. This was a classic case of poor visibility. As for the race, I am really glad for the people of Queensland that they are getting the much needed rain during this drought. The race fans didn't get to see a race today, but the rain is more important than the race. I just hope the fans comeback to see a great race next year."

Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Office Depot/Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola on Bridgestone tires) - "I don't think we should have started the race the first time. It was very bad out there. I am just glad everyone is ok, because it was very scary out there. I am happy for Mario (Dominguez) and the Herdez people that they won. I was associated with them for a number of years and I know they have put a lot of effort into the sport. However, while I am happy for them, I don't think the way this race was handled was the best."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Mario Dominguez , Michel Jourdain