CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Round seven preview

CHAMP CAR IS READY TO ROAR DOWN LAKESHORE FOR THE STEELBACK GRAND PRIX OF TORONTO Second leg of Canadian Triple Crown will feature tight racing through the streets of downtown Toronto INDIANAPOLIS (July 3, 2007) -- After two ...

CHAMP CAR IS READY TO ROAR DOWN LAKESHORE FOR THE STEELBACK GRAND PRIX OF TORONTO

Second leg of Canadian Triple Crown will feature tight racing through the streets of downtown Toronto

INDIANAPOLIS (July 3, 2007) -- After two exciting back-to-back races in Cleveland and Mont-Tremblant, the Champ Car World Series heads into its third race in a row series this weekend at the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto, Round Seven on the 2007 schedule. If the last two races are any indication, the battle along Lakeshore Boulevard promises to be a heated one.

The top-two contenders for a win this weekend are Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Sebastien Bourdais (#1 Mc Donald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) as both are tied for the championship lead with 145 points.

The Dutchman, who scored his first victory in Mont-Tremblant last weekend and became the fourth different driver to win a race this season, is looking to build on his string of five podium finishes in six races all while trying to add to his win column. Like all the other tracks he has visited this season, this will be the Minardi Team USA driver's first visit to the 1.755-mile temporary street course but as he has shown up until now, learning new circuits is not an issue for the Champ Car rookie.

On the other hand, Newman/Haas/Lanigan's Bourdais will be competing for the fourth time in Toronto where he has one win and one podium finish to his credit. The Frenchman will be battling hard to regain sole possession of first place atop the standings on a track where he has yet to finish outside of the top five.

Sitting only 14 points behind in third place is Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who is still searching for the follow up win to his maiden victory achieved in Las Vegas at the season-opener. The Australian has been on form since then but unfortunate incidents have dampened his chances for victory. With his on-track performances in the last few races, Toronto may well be the place where the 2006 Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year finds himself on the top step of the podium once again.

A driver looking for a break out performance in Toronto is Power's Team Australia teammate, Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone). Pagenaud has been quick but like his stablemate, has not been able to complete a "perfect" race as a string of bad luck has been following him since the start of the season. After stalling on the grid in Mont-Tremblant the rookie managed to cross the finish line in fourth, placing him second in the Roshfran's Rookie-of-the-Year standings.

Despite their on-track misfortunes, the Aussie duo can take pride in the fact that they lead the Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown standings -- a team competition based on the combined average finish for each team over the three Canadian rounds on the Champ Car schedule.

Rookie Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), who sits second in the Triple Crown standings with teammate Bourdais, had another up and down race in Mont-Tremblant. Since his podium finish in Houston in Round three on the schedule, the New Albany High graduate has been unable to materialize his speed into another podium finish. After sitting on pole and being hit from behind knocking him out of contention in Turn 3 during last season's Champ Car Atlantic race, Rahal feels that Toronto owes him one and hopes that the "pay back" will come this weekend.

RSPORTS teammates Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Alex Tagliani (#8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) switched positions in the standings following last Sunday's race at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant. Canadian Tagliani continues to fight for a place in the top-three in the standings, with what he qualified as a disappointing race in Mont-Tremblant, the Quebec-native wants to do better in front of his Toronto fans as well as sponsors and family who have made the trek to Exhibition Place.

Wilson finished fourth in Toronto last season and has put in consistent results this season keeping him in close reach of the top-three in the standings. The Brit would like nothing more than to be the fifth different driver this season to climb atop the podium.

One driver to never count out, especially in his home race of Toronto, is Canada's own Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone). Tracy is the only Canadian driver to have won in his home country and after a tough Sunday in Mont-Tremblant, the "Thrill from West Hill" is hoping he can once again climb up on the podium in his backyard.

Carrying momentum into the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto will be Pacific Coast Motorsport's driver Ryan Dalziel (#28 PCM Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who is coming off one of his best performances this season as well as PKV Racing's Neel Jani (#21 Red Bull/Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who following his podium finish in Cleveland left Mont-Tremblant with a sixth place finish moving him into a heated battle for a top-three spot in the rookie standings.

Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay by Touch Cosworth/DP01/Brigestone) will be looking to bounce back after claiming his first pole position at Le Circuit. Unable to leave the grid for the pace lap, Gommendy ended up two laps down. The Frenchman will look to Toronto to continue the progress the PKV Racing Team has made since the start of the season. As for Jan Heylen (#34 Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) he hopes that Toronto will be the city where he sees the checkered flag for the first time this season.

Practice and qualifying get underway on Friday, July 6 with the DP01 making its Toronto debut at 9:30 a.m. with the first round will take place on Friday, afternoon at 1:15 p.m. On Saturday, July 7 the drivers will again practice at 9:30 a.m. and the battle for the Pole Position will start again at 1:15 p.m. Sunday morning, July 8 will feature a 30-minute warmup session at 9:00 a.m. and then the feature event Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto will start at 1:00 p.m. ET. Live coverage of the race will be provided by ESPN in the United States and Global in Canada. Fans can also follow all of the action on the internet at Champ Car's official site, www.champcar.ws.

-credit: ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Graham Rahal , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos , Neel Jani , Tristan Gommendy , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud