Sebastien Bourdais took advantage of a small mistake by Mario Dominguez to snatch victory in the Grand Prix of Houston on Saturday night, extending his championship lead handsomely in the process.
From fifth on the grid, Bourdais seemed to have no answer for the Mexican Forsythe Racing driver during the first half of the shortened 96-lap race around the bumpy but surprisingly wide (in most places) 1.6-mile Reliant Park street circuit.
However the French born Newman-Haas driver took advantage of Dominguez's lapse at two thirds distance after having an earlier successful attempt reversed in the pits and then benefited greatly from a flurry of late caution periods that reduced the final number of laps from 100 to 96.
The end of the second round of the 2006 Champ Car World Series Championship ended with a bit of an anti-climax as first Oriol Servia crashed and then Alex Tagliani lost his brakes and hit the tyres less than half a lap after the restart. What was left was a one-lap sprint to the chequered flag, which Bourdais held easily to keep his unbeaten start to the season intact.
Paul Tracy took second place, atoning for his early exit at Long Beach while Dominguez trailed home third, disappointed at missing out on a third career victory after controlling the pace for much of the evening.
With the concrete walls claiming their fair share of victims, Nelson Philippe and Justin Wilson completed the top five even though both drivers had at least one off-course excursion during the course of the event while the cash-strapped Andrew Ranger, leading rookie Will Power and AJ Allmendinger completed the list of unlapped runners.
Bruno Junqueira finished 12th after running out of fuel while Katherine Legge had a tough time, hitting the tyre barriers once and losing 15 laps in the process. Still, the plucky PKV Racing rookie soldiered on to take 14th place, third among the rookie contingent.