CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver: Newman/Haas Racing race report

Junqueira Finished 4th and Bourdais 5th in Vancouver - PacifiCare driver Bruno Junqueira turned his eighth place start into a fourth place finish in the 85-lap Molson Indy Vancouver and trimmed his deficit to points leader Sebastien Bourdais by...

Junqueira Finished 4th and Bourdais 5th in Vancouver

- PacifiCare driver Bruno Junqueira turned his eighth place start into a fourth place finish in the 85-lap Molson Indy Vancouver and trimmed his deficit to points leader Sebastien Bourdais by one after he closed his pre-race 28 point deficit to 27 today (186-159). A variety of fuel strategies employed by the field, including second and third place finishers Michel Jourdain and A.J. Allmendinger possibly limited his finish to fourth. Paul Tracy won the event from pole despite making an additional late race pit stop (Lap 77 of 85) after he built a sizable lead on his peers. At the start of the race, Junqueira passed Justin Wilson for seventh place and turned his attention to sixth place runner Patrick Carpentier whom he closed on by Lap 5 but was unable to pass while conserving fuel as well as his race car. Third place runner Rodolfo Lavin appeared to be holding up the pack behind him as leader Tracy and second place runner Sebastien Bourdais pulled away. From Laps 22-25, the caution flag was brought out for an incident between fifth place runner Patrick Carpentier and the lapped car of Alex Sperafico whom Carpentier was attempting to pass. Simultaneously, ahead in the field, third place runner Lavin spun on his own, which moved Junqueira up to fourth place. When the race was restarted on Lap 26, he held his position until his first of two mandatory green-flag pit stops on Lap 34. Once the pit cycle concluded, Junqueira lost two positions and was in sixth place behind the additional cars of rookie A.J. Allmendinger who pitted one lap later than Junqueira and third place runner Michel Jourdain who pitted two laps later as well as Bourdais and Alex Tagliani. On Lap 53 Tagliani made his second and final pit stop, moving him into fifth place. During the round of stops, he moved as high as third place before he pitted on Lap 59 and returned to the race in fifth place. When temporary third place runner Mario Dominguez made his final pit stop on Lap 63, Junqueira moved into fourth place, which he held until the conclusion of the event after 85 laps. Following are Junqueira's comments:

"The PacifiCare car was good but we had our work cut out for us starting in eighth place," said Junqueira. "I never had a chance to run in clean air - I was always behind cars. I wish I could have started in second place and been able to challenge Paul. We were one of the only guys who passed cars on track but unfortunately I couldn't pass the two guys that were in front of me at the end of the race. The RuSport strategy was a big gamble but it worked really good for them. We had a faster car than they did but their strategy worked. The team had no telemetry since the beginning of the race so we took a conservative strategy. We were able to move up from eight place into fourth but it would have been nice to get on the podium. Now were going to the two races that I won from pole last year (Elkhart Lake and Denver) and I hope we can get our first couple of wins of the season there."

- McDonald's 0x0932iver Sebastien Bourdais failed to match a Champ Car record with a fourth consecutive win in today's 85-lap Molson Indy Vancouver but saw a possible second place finish turn into fifth due to different fuel strategy employed by other teams. After earning 21 points for his fifth place finish as well as one for leading the race, Bourdais was able to maintain his lead in the point standings with a 185-159 margin over second place Bruno Junqueira.

At the start of the event, Bourdais moved from his third place qualifying position into second ahead of Rodolfo Lavin, who was making his best start in his two year Champ Car career. For the first stint, he maintained a gap of approx. 2.5 seconds in arrears of leader Paul Tracy while trying to conserve fuel as well as built a sizable lead of over 14 seconds on third place Lavin. From Laps 22-25, the caution flag was brought out for an incident between fifth place runner Patrick Carpentier and the lapped car of Alex Sperafico, whom Carpentier was attempting to pass. Simultaneously, ahead in the field, third place runner Lavin spun on his own. When the race was restarted on Lap 26, Bourdais held second place behind Tracy, who began to rebuild his lead. The team received an initial scare on Lap 27 when Bourdais reported to the crew that he thought one of his tires might have a puncture although the telemetry showed no change. By Lap 31 he was six seconds behind Tracy but took the lead for one lap when Tracy made his first of two mandatory green-flag pit stops on Lap 34. Bourdais pitted on the following lap and the team elected to short fill the fuel in the car in order to attempt to gain a position on Tracy. Not only were they unable to but Bourdais lost two positions and was in fourth behind leader Tracy as well as rookie A.J. Allmendinger who pitted one lap later than Bourdais and third place runner Michel Jourdain who pitted two laps later. On Lap 42, Alex Tagliani passed Bourdais for position and subsequently his teammate Junqueira began to close on him. He regained fourth place on Lap 53 when Tagliani made his second pit stop. On Lap 56 he made his second and final pit stop while second place Allmendinger entered the pits on the following lap. Junqueira stretched his fuel load until he pitted on Lap 59 and the top two cars made their stops on Lap 60. Once the pit cycle was complete he was in fifth place, which he held until the checkered flag after 85 laps. He set the second fastest lap of the race on 55 of 85. He holds a 27-point lead over Junqueira and a 44-point lead over third place Tracy after seven of 16 races this season. Following are his post race comments:

"I'm frustrated about the race rules because the race is all about fuel economy now," said Bourdais. "No one could pass - they just had to save fuel. We had to short fill to keep our position. Then the others pitted later on a different strategy and were able to get ahead of us. We had a P2 car (position two) but we weren't able to take advantage of it. The car was really loose on the restart and we're not sure why. Luckily we were able to keep the points lead but it's frustrating that we weren't able to reach the potential of the McDonald's car."

- Oh Canada! ...Today's attendance in Toronto was 63,406 for a three-day event total attendance of 158,420.

- Up Next...The series will take one week off before the Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America. Junqueira has won the past two races at this track and NHR has won nine, the most at any track in their history. Bourdais finished second to Junqueira at Road America last year.

-nhr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Rodolfo Lavin , Alex Sperafico , Michel Jourdain