McDONALD'SÂ® DRIVER BOURDAIS MAINTAINED POINTS LEAD WITH THIRD PLACE FINISH IN THE MOLSON CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF TORONTO; HOLE IN THE WALL CAMPS DRIVER JUNQUEIRA FINISHED EIGHTH - McDonald'sÂ® driver Sebastien Bourdais maintained the Champ ...
McDONALD'S® DRIVER BOURDAIS MAINTAINED POINTS LEAD WITH THIRD PLACE FINISH IN THE MOLSON CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF TORONTO; HOLE IN THE WALL CAMPS DRIVER JUNQUEIRA FINISHED EIGHTH
- McDonald's® driver Sebastien Bourdais maintained the Champ Car World Series points lead after starting and finishing third in the 86-lap Molson Champ Car Grand Prix of Toronto. His pre-race lead over second place of 25 points was slightly trimmed to 23 points over A.J. Allmendinger (191- 168) who won his third race in a row and took over second in the standings from former teammate Justin Wilson who has 165 points. He maintained third place behind polesitter Wilson and second place Allmendinger through the start and until the first of three caution periods of the day for contact between Jan Heylen, Katherine Legge, Dan Clarke and Tonis Kasemets. All but three cars elected to pit early on Lap 11 before the pit window opened around Lap 20. Bourdais returned to the track in sixth place, but third behind Allmendinger, and Wilson who also pit. The race was restarted on Lap 12 and on Lap 14 Bourdais was trying to hold off Tracy, and tapped Wilson's wheel with his front wing but fortunately both continued relatively unscathed. He held the position until he moved into fifth on Lap 25 when second place runner Oriol Servia made his first pit stop and into fourth on Lap 35 when temporary race leader Nelson Philippe made his first stop. His teammate Bruno Junqueira was the last driver to make his first stop on Lap 37 and Bourdais moved back into third place behind Allmendinger and Wilson. On Lap 41 fourth place runner Tracy pressured Bourdais and was able to pass him. While Bourdais was getting back online, Alex Tagliani also used the opportunity to pass and Bourdais was now in fifth place. He was able to regain a position when he passed Tagliani on Lap 46 and moved back into third on Lap 48 when he passed Wilson. On Lap 50 he made his final pit stop as did race leader Allmendinger and second place Tracy. He returned to the race in sixth place but moved back into third by Lap 64 of 86 as the remainder of the field made their final stops. The third and final caution period of the race came out on Lap 77 due to contact between Philippe and Servia and enabled those drivers who were tight on fuel the ability to run until the end of the race without a splash of fuel. The race restarted with four laps to go and Bourdais attempted to pressure Tracy. He was within four-tenths of a second at one point but was unable to pass the Toronto native and took the checkered flag in third place. He collected 25 points to bring his total to 191 and lost two points worth of ground over second place during the event. Following are his post race comments:
"It's been a little bit of an up and down day," said Bourdais. "I think I really missed a shot at the start. I had a pretty good reference point for braking, but unfortunately got on the brakes and locked up the right front. Just couldn't make it stick, so had to give up second place. After that, it was all about fuel consumption. The whole race, we ended up saving fuel, saving fuel, saving fuel. When we took that early yellow, it got even worse from there on. Didn't get so many yellows, only one towards the end. We had to save fuel really, really hard. I guess it kind of really threw the race in the end of how you going to catch traffic and who was going to lose the tires and when. Quite honestly, I just missed another shot on Justin. Two laps later PT got me. That's really a shame. But it's one of these days where you just got to think "championship." We took some risks, we've been aggressive, but didn't get desperate and try something stupid. When Paul got a run on me, I just kept enough room for him to sneak in, and he went around. After, the only problem was Alex took advantage of that, and now I had to pass two cars to get back on the podium. Felt that at some point we were going to get only five out of this thing. Still managed to bring the McDonald's car up front. All in all, it's not that bad.
(On contact with Justin Wilson:) "It was turn three. But, yeah, we were fighting with Paul. I got to turn three pretty deep. I don't know what Justin did, I guess he screwed up, too, went all the way to the end of turn three, he was kind of facing me like that at the very end of the corner when I was running a little wide. You know, I couldn't anticipate him to be at that place. We had a small contact. I'm just happy that I didn't puncture his tire. That was a good thing 'cause that would not have been fair, but in the meantime he made quite a big mistake. I don't exactly know what happened, but he was definitely not where he was supposed to be."
- Hole in the Wall Camps driver Bruno Junqueira utilized an alternate pit strategy in an attempt to move up from his ninth place starting position in the 86-lap Molson Champ Car Grand Prix of Toronto but due to the timing of a late-race caution period that possibly allowed some drivers ahead of him to stretch their fuel to the end, and an intermittent engine misfire he took the checkered flag in eight place. The team will investigate the source of the problem once they return to the race shop. He was able to move up from eighth place to seventh in the point standings with a total of 102 points. At the start of the event he passed Cristiano da Matta for eighth place which he held until the first of three caution periods between Laps 9-12 for contact between Jan Heylen, Katherine Legge, Dan Clarke and Tonis Kasemets. The majority of the field made their first pit stop on Lap 11 but fifth place Nelson Philippe, sixth place Oriol Servia and eighth place Junqueira elected to stay out and gain track position which put Junqueira third when the race restarted on Lap 12. Two laps later fourth place A.J. Allmendinger passed Junqueira and he ran in fourth place until Lap 25 when second place Servia made his first pit stop. He briefly moved into second place on Lap 35-36 when temporary race leader Philippe made his first stop before he was the last driver to make his first pit stop on Lap 37. He returned to the race in 12th place and steadily worked his way back into second as the frontrunners made their stops before he made his second stop on Lap 53. He returned to the race in 11th place and was in eighth by Lap 71. The third and final caution period came out from Laps 77-82 for contact between fifth place Servia and sixth place Philippe and Servia which moved Junqueira into sixth. The caution period enabled those drivers who were tight on fuel the ability to run until the end of the race without a splash of fuel. Once the race resumed with four laps to go, Junqueira was passed by Tagliani and later Will Power on Lap 83 of 86 when his car appeared to misfire while he was shifting between second and third gear. He took the checkered flag in eighth place and collected 15 points to bring his total to 102 and move him from eighth to seventh in the point standings. Following are his post race comments:
"I started to have a misfire around Lap 15 or 20 and it continued throughout the race," said Junqueira. "It didn't hurt our performance too much except for the miss-shift where I lost two places. I was shifting from second to third and was full throttle and I had a misfire, miss-shift. Then Tagliani came to pass me. Two corners later, Tagliani went wide and I tried to avoid him and the other guys passed me. I had a good start and gained a position then when the others pit we took a gamble on the pit strategy and stayed out. I think the last yellow helped a lot of people who were tight on fuel. We were good until the end so maybe we could have earned a few positions if some others had to pit if they yellow hadn't come out. At least we finished. After 15 or 20 laps into the race I was worried we wouldn't make it until the end."