SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS WINS FROM THE POLE IN BELGIUM Bruno Junqueira Runner-up in Best Finish for Dale Coyne Racing Since 2004 Sebastien Bourdais ( ...
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS WINS FROM THE POLE IN BELGIUM
Bruno Junqueira Runner-up in Best Finish for Dale Coyne Racing Since 2004
Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) proved once again why he is the driver to beat in the Champ Car World Series, earning nearly every point by grabbing the pole position on Saturday, setting the fastest race lap and winning by more than 13 seconds. With the weekend Bourdais extended his points lead to 53 markers over Dutch driver Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone).
Finishing second was Dale Coyne Racing driver Bruno Junqueira (#19 Sonny's Bar-B-Q Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), who scored the best ever finish in Dale Coyne's 24 years as a team owner. Though the Brazilian started fourth, it wasn't an average Sunday drive. Junqueira lost one position at the start when the entire field came to pit road on lap 17, a fueling problem saw him exit pit lane in 15th place.
Mired in the back of the field, Junqueira and the Coyne Racing crew came back onto pit lane under the next yellow just ten laps later. The alternate strategy saw Bruno move up to second in the order as the other drivers had to dive onto pit lane for service under green flag conditions. Junqueira made his final stop on lap 48 also under green flag conditions and dropped back to tenth. When a full-course caution slowed the race again, the majority of the field used the opportunity to come to pit road for a final splash of fuel to reach the end of the race.
While they came to pit lane, Junqueira stayed out and moved back up to the fourth position, sitting behind Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), Belgian Jan Heylen (#34 Grafiprint Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Tristan Gommendy (#22 Pay By Touch-MegaSpirea Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone). The three drivers in front all had to pit for fuel while Bruno worked hard to conserve fuel and make it to the checkered flag. In the end, the three-time championship runner-up battled valiantly with Bourdais and his Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing teammate Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) letting the French champion slip by but holding off the American rookie.
By holding onto second, Junqueira forced the 18-year-old Rahal to settle for his fourth podium finish. Much like Bruno, Rahal was embroiled in a tight battle throughout the race, mostly with Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone).
Power finished fourth losing more ground in the race for the Vanderbilt Cup, with Wilson right behind in fifth. Forsythe Championship Racing driver Oriol Servia (#7 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) finished sixth, his ninth top-10 finish in 10 races.
Doornbos finished seventh, also losing ground to Bourdais in the Championship chase, finishing just ahead of fellow rookie Neel Jani (#21 Red Bull-Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who came home eighth. Rounding out the top-10 were Canadians Alex Tagliani (#8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone).
With the double podium, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing took the early lead in the Phanos Champ Car European Team Cup competition earning 70 points over the course of the weekend. Team Australia, winners of the Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown, are second with 60.5 points and the Rocketsports/RuSPORT duo are third.
Next up is the back-end of the European double header as the Champ Car World Series heads to Assen, Holland for the Bavaria Beer Champ Car Grand Prix of Holland presented by Audi, Hertz, Gant, Pioneer and Jumbo. The event in Holland runs from August 31 -- September 2, with live coverage on Eurosport 2 in Europe at 1 p.m. local time, and in the United States on ESPN Classic at 7 a.m. ET. Fans can also follow all of the action via the official website of the Champ Car World Series, www.champcar.ws.
QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE FINISHERS
Sebastien Bourdais: "It was a great weekend once again. It wasn't exactly the target to go after the win but we would obviously go for it if we could. The McDonald's team did a fantastic job"
Bruno Junqueira ""I am very happy to get a podium for Dale Coyne Racing. I just kept my head down and concentrated on saving fuel after that. I drove as hard as I could at the finish
Graham Rahal: "The end of the race was very exciting for me. The Medi|Zone team had to work awfully hard because I got a horrible start and lost another spot, so I was trying to make up time the rest of the race. It was a bit of hard dicing but I managed to pull a little gap on them and I managed to cruise to the finish which was nice."