CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Walker Racing race report

Walker Racing's 2004 Two-Car Debut Leads To Big Day For Local Favorite in Surfers Paradise SURFERS PARADISE, Australia (Oct 26, 2004) -- Walker Racing expanded its Champ Car World Series operation to a pair of cars for the Lexmark Indy 300 at...

Walker Racing's 2004 Two-Car Debut Leads To Big Day For Local Favorite in Surfers Paradise

SURFERS PARADISE, Australia (Oct 26, 2004) -- Walker Racing expanded its Champ Car World Series operation to a pair of cars for the Lexmark Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise, Australia, and came through with strong results, including a top-10 for Australian David Besnard (#15 Wright-Patton Shakespeare Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) in his series debut.

Besnard grabbed a number of the local headlines with his debut effort that saw him finish seventh after starting 17th. The 27-year-old resident of the Gold Coast finished on the lead lap and scored an extra championship point for gaining the most positions during the event, which immediately put him in the top 20 in the point standings, vaulting ahead of a pair of drivers that had made two series starts this season.

"A good 7th place result for David Besnard and our friends at WPS," said team owner Derrick Walker. "David had so little time in the car and battled against the odds to have a deserving top-ten finish. It was also a lot of fun to have the complete team back together again. The good team work made it all go off with no dramas".

Besnard overcame a first-lap spin and worked his way through the field with the help of shrewd pit strategy by the Walker Racing team. He stretched his fuel mileage to the limit in the 57-lap race and was rewarded with the seventh-place finish.

"When I spun on the first lap, I was a bit surprised, Besnard began. "I just got caught out, but the WPS Walker Racing team did a great job of keeping me settled down and allowing me to get back to business. I really felt comfortable in the car. Every lap I felt better and better. I am sure I will look back at this race and think about how much fun it was, but right now, I wish I would have finished a little higher."

Mario Haberfeld (#5 Cummins Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) had one of his best qualifying sessions of the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, earning the 13th starting spot on the 19-car grid. He battled through adversity and finished the race a lap down in 14th, but took over the series lead in laps and miles completed.

Haberfeld has finished 1,229 of the year's 1,272 laps (96.62 percent) and could move into the top 10 for highest percentage of laps completed in a single season with a strong performance in Mexico City. Two-time series champion Alex Zanardi is tenth on the Champ Car Modern Era (1979-present) list for percentage of laps completed in a season with 96.70 in 1998.

"The Cummins Walker Racing team kept improving the car all weekend. In the warm-up prior to the race we were fifth on the speed charts and I was confident we were going to have a good race. Unfortunately, during the race I had some brake problems and that really hurt us. I was still trying to push hard, but I ended up spinning in Turn #8 and lost a lap. That pretty much ended our race

The Walker Racing squad will again be a two-car unit for the November 7 Champ Car season finale in Mexico City as Haberfeld will be joined by Toyota Atlantic veteran Michael Valiante. The event will be held at the spectacular Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course in Mexico City where a series record of over 402,000 fans attended the event last year.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Alex Zanardi , Michael Valiante , David Besnard