Monday, April 10, 2006

Life's A Wire-To-Wire Beach For Bourdais!

Jumbotron celebration (L to R) with Justin Wilson (2nd), Sebastien Bourdais (1st) with his team owner - Paul Newman, and Alex Tagliani (3ird). Photo Credit: ecj

... and it really was never that close, not even on the re-starts after the yellow flags.

Excerpts from AP via the Globe And Mail -

AUTO RACING ROUNDUP
Bourdais wins Grand Prix after pileup derails three
Associated Press

Long Beach, Calif. -- S├ębastien Bourdais keeps getting better.

The Frenchman began the quest for his third Champ Car World Series title in a row with an overpowering victory yesterday in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Winning here for the second year in a row, Bourdais trailed only after a mid-race pit stop, leading 70 of 74 laps on the 1.986-mile (3.196-kilometre), 11-turn circuit that threads its way through city streets tucked between downtown and the Pacific Ocean.

The 27-year-old driver was dominating throughout the weekend, leading nearly every practice and winning both sessions of qualifying. Through most of the race, he was as much as a half-second faster than runner-up Justin Wilson on each lap.
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Likely championship contenders Paul Tracy of Toronto, Bruno Junqueira and A.J. Allmendinger didn't even make it through the first turn of the first race of the season.

As the leaders approached the left-hand turn, Mario Dominguez hit the rear of Forsythe Championship Racing teammate Tracy's car, lifting his rear tires off the ground and sending Tracy careering into Bourdais's teammate Junqueira.

Junqueira slammed into RuSport's Allmendinger and Oriol Servia also got caught in the accident that sent all of them to the garage.

"It's definitely not the way to start the season," said Tracy, a four-time Long Beach winner. "That accident took out a lot of championship contenders, and it's a real shame."
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Additional Anaylsis from Robin Miller at the CCWS website .

NOTE: Paul Tracy's Forsythe Championship Racing teammate, Mario Dominguez, comes in 4th. Mario said, "This was a strong way to start the season. I'm a little disappointed because we were very close to stepping on the podium. We were saving fuel for most of the race to make sure that we could stay out one lap longer than the guys in front of us. We managed to run quick and consistent laps and at the same time stay within our fuel mileage target and it paid off, we stayed out one more lap and came out in front of Tagliani. Unfortunately our tire choice didn't work very well."

Cristiano da Matta, back from a try at Formula 1, had a strong showing in a second tier team car. It was a very good day for Dale Coyne Racing as the Champion driver line up of Cristiano da Matta and Jan Heylen deliver 5th and 7th place finishes.

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