Bourdais leads Starworks win at Indy
28 July 2012
After seven years of competing in US open wheel racing, including two attempts at the famous Indy 500 race, Sebastien Bourdais finally found success at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, behind the wheel of a Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series car.
Bourdais was sharing stewardship of the #2 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley Daytona Prototype with Venezuela's Alex Popow, and drove the last stint of the race which included a late pit stop for fuel-only that helped vault him past his Starworks team mate Ryan Dalziel for the lead on lap 74 of 91.
Bourdais still had to survive two late restarts, while the race ultimately ended up finishing under caution after two Porsches driven by Leh Keen and Joerg Bergmeister clashed with five minutes left to run in the event.
"The last restart was challenging," said Bourdais of his battle with with #10 SunTrust Racing Corvette DP in the hands of Ricky Taylor. "He braked really, really late, and so did I. I nearly didn't make the corner!"
The race also saw some very tricky conditions for his co-driver Popow, who had to keep the Starworks car on track in a period that saw two heavy rainstorms sweep over Indianapolis early in the three-hour running time.
"It's amazing, sitting here in first place at the Brickyard," said Popow, adding that "It's like a dream come true." He also gave special thanks to his experienced co-driver: "A great job and an incredible drive. He was amazing. We had the best car and the best driver out there."
Bourdais finished ahead of the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley car driven by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, which limped home looking pretty beaten up after a physical race that saw a lot of contact but still had enough zip left to pull off a late-race move on Taylor for the runners-up spot.
"I think most everything took place," said Pruett. "It rained, we had a tore-up race car - but we managed to scratch back and finish second!"
Ricky Taylor finished third at the end in the #10 car he shared with Max Angelelli, just ahead of the second Ganassi car, the #02 driven by IndyCar's Scott Dixon and NASCAR's Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya raised eyebrows during the race with his aggressive stint that saw him bump the second #8 Starworks car of Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio out of the top five, and also doing the same with the #9 Action Express Racing Corvette shared by Joao Barbosa and Darren Law.
Starworks team boss Peter Baron was not amused: "I've sent emails and had phone calls to Grand-AM saying Montoya is reckless in this series. He comes in and doesn't give a [expletive] about anybody here," he fumed. "He went into the race and ruined our championship."
Montoya was not penalised for the incident.
The GT class was won by the #44 Magnus Racing Porsche driven by 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie of the year Andy Lally in association with team owner John Porter, who finished in fifth place in the overall standings.
"Just amazing," said Lally. "We just won Indy!"
Also competing in the event was former IndyCar star Paul Tracy, who helped John Lowe drive the #77 Doran Racing Dallara Fordto a sixth place finish; and Indy Lights star Sebastian Saavedra, whose #46 Michael Baughman Racing Corvette was the first car to exit the race on lap 23.
Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian - who won the Daytona 24 hours event at the start of the year - saw its single #60 Ford Riley entry piloted by Oswaldo Negri Jr. and John Pew exit the competition on lap 32, while Patrick Dempsey's #40 Mazda RX-8 finished its campaign at the halfway point on lap 45.
It was the the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race at the word's most famous motor racing venue, in a "superweekend" of motorsports that also includes NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup races. While those events will run the oval configuration, the Grand-AM event utilised the road course configuration originally developed for F1 and now used by MotoGP.
1. #2 Sebastien Bourdais, Alex Popow Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley 3:00:55.304s
2. #01 Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley + 1.271s
3. #10 Max Angelelli, Ricky Taylor SunTrust Racing Chevrolet + 2.328s
4. #02 Scott Dixon, Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley + 2.856s
5. #44 John Potter, Andy Lally Magnus Racing Porsche + 6.601s
6. #70 Jonathan Bomarito, Sylvain Tremblay Speedsource Mazda + 8.762s
7. #59 Andrew Davis, Leh Keen Brumos Racing Porsche + 9.750s
8. #94 Paul Dalla Lana, Bill Auberlen, Billy Johnson Turner Motorsport BMW + 10.404s
9. #69 Emil Assentato, Jeff Segal AIM Autosport Team FXDD Racing with Ferrari Ferrari + 10.765s
10. #17 Claudio Burtin, Martin Ragginger Burtin Racing Porsche + 12.792s
11. #31 Eric Curran, Boris Said Marsh Racing Chevrolet + 14.082s
12. #43 Wayne Nonnamaker, Will Nonnamaker, Dane Cameron Team Sahlen Mazda + 14.506s
13. #41 Charles Putman, Charles Espenlaub, Tom Long Dempsey Racing Mazda + 14.641s
14. #88 Bill Lester, Jordan Taylor Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet + 21.568s
15. #9 João Barbosa, Darren Law Action Express Racing Chevrolet + 1 lap
16. #77 Jim Lowe, Paul Tracy Doran Racing Ford Dallara + 1 lap
17. #8 Ryan Dalziel, Enzo Potolicchio Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley + 1 lap
18. #66 Jörg Bergmeister, Ben Keating TRG Porsche + 1 lap
19. #5 David Donohue, Terry Borcheller Action Express Racing Chevrolet + 3 laps
20. #15 Kevin O'Connell, Jason White Rick Ware Racing Ford + 6 laps
21. #64 Eduardo Costabal, Eliseo Salazar TRG Porsche + 7 laps
22. #56 Rui Águas, Robert Kauffman AF - Waltrip Ferrari + 8 laps
23. #57 John Michael Edwards, Robin Liddell Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet + 9 laps
24. #87 Tony Ave, Jan Heylen Vehicle Technologies Dodge + 17 laps
25. #90 Antonio Garcia, R.Westbrook Spirit of Daytona Racing Chevrolet + 18 laps
26. #75 Matt Bell, Ronnie Bremer Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet + 30 laps
27. #99 Jon Fogarty, Alex Gurney GAINSCO/ Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet + 39 laps
28. #51 Jim Norman, Dion von Moltke APR Motorsport Audi + 40 laps
29. #73 Eric Foss, Patrick Lindsey Horton Autosport Porsche + 43 laps
30. #42 Dane Cameron, Joe Nonnamaker, Will Nonnamaker Team Sahlen Mazda + 44 laps
31. #40 Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster, Tom Long Dempsey Racing Mazda + 46 laps
32. #60 Oswaldo Negri, John Pew Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley + 59 laps
33. #72 Milton Grant, Carey Grant, Kevin Grant, Brady Refenning Grant Racing/901 Shop Porsche + 59 laps
34. #46 Michael Baughman, James Davison, Sebastian Saavedra Michael Baughman Racing Chevrolet + 68 laps