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Bourdais takes action packed win in Toronto
11 July 2004
Sebastien Bourdais has moved to the top of the driver's standings after claiming his fourth win of the season in an action packed Molson Indy Toronto.
The young Frenchman leaves Toronto with a 28 point lead in the series after teammate Bruno Junqueira failed to finish.
As it did last weekend in Cleveland, the action started as soon as the green flag dropped for the start of the race. Junqueira and Mario Dominguez, who had started alongside each other on the second row, found that two cars wouldn't go where there was only room for one and both ended up in the barriers. Junqueira could only stand and watch from that point onwards as his lead in the championship disappeared.
Also in trouble on the opening lap were Ryan Hunter-Reay and rookie AJ Allmendinger, contact between the pair forcing them both into an early stop.
From the restart Bourdais led from fellow front row starter Paul Tracy, with Justin Wilson and Patrick Carpentier keeping the leading duo honest in third and fourth. Less than four seconds covered the leading quartet when the second caution of the day came out for Memo Gidley who had put the Rocketsports car into the tyres.
Following the first set of pit stops shortly afterwards, Wilson was able to jump ahead of Tracy but the pair then got together on lap 41. Heading into turn three, Wilson got out of shape and was tagged by Tracy, spinning in front of Oriol Servia and Alex Tagliani, who also touched. Tracy and Tagliani would both be hit with penalties for causing an avoidable accident as a result.
Tracy would soon start to climb back up the order as Bourdais was bust establishing a lead out front. With a clear track ahead of him, the Frenchman put in a series of blistering laps to establish an eight second advantage over Jimmy Vasser who had avoided all the carnage ahead of him to climb into second place.
Bourdais was the first front-runner to make his second stop, allowing Vasser and then a charging Tracey to inherit the lead.
However on exiting the pit-lane, the Canadian collected Michel Jourdain going into turn one, bringing out the yellow flags and handing the Forsythe driver his second drive through penalty of the day.
Bourdais managed to survive the restart, and then a second one just two laps from the end after Rodolfo Lavin stalled on track to claim the win by just 1.396secs from Vasser, with Patrick Carpentier muscling past Ryan Hunter-Reay late on to snatch the final podium place with a move that forced the American to pit and dropped him to eighth.
Mario Haberfeld claimed fourth from Tracy, while Gaston Mazzacane finished as the highest placed rookie in a career best sixth.
But in the end the day belonged to one man, and after leading for most of the race, Bourdais was delighted.
"I think the McDonald's crew did an awesome job,” he said, “we had a great car today. The team did a great job at figuring out what was the right figure because we stopped one lap later than Paul, and we still have been able to hold him up. You know, I just push really hard and try to pit early on the second stop to make sure that we were not going to get stopped by a yellow. I put a very good lap, 60.3, just pulled away, and after that was a pretty easy race except we had a lot of restarts. I think we did a really good job today."
Bourdais can now attempt to equal the record of Al Unser Jr., Alex Zanardi and Paul Tracy for four consecutive race wins when the series moves to Vancouver.
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