Nelson Philippe became the youngest winner ever of a Champ Car race in another afternoon of drama at Surfers Paradise while Sebastien Bourdais duly wrapped up the 2006 title despite enduring one of the worst days of his entire career.

At just 20 years, two months and 30 days of age Philippe broke Scott Dixon's record of being the youngest winner in the series by some six months, becoming the 16th different winner in 16 CCWS visits to Australia's glamorous Gold Coast and holding off former Surfers winner Mario Dominguez in a thrilling final ten laps.

But the French-Canadian's maiden Champ Car triumph only told half the story of an afternoon in which Newman-Haas Racing's Sebastien Bourdais clinched his third consecutive series title despite only finishing eighth and taking out pole man and home town hero Will Power in the process.

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Team Australia driver Power, who made his Champ Car debut at Surfers one year ago, led the 59-lap race from the start and looked comfortable as he held Bourdais, Paul Tracy, Bruno Junqueira and Philippe at bay through the opening 12-lap green flag run.

Behind the leader the huge Australian crowd were being treated to some truly fine street circuit racing as first Philippe out braked Junqueira for fourth going into turn one on lap nine with AJ Allmendinger following suite two laps later. Slightly ahead of that battle Tracy took advantage of a rare mistake by Bourdais through the fast VB chicane to snatch second on lap 12 but before the lap was out the first yellow flag of the afternoon had waved for Dan Clarke's turn eight accident.

The caution period saw virtually everyone pile onto pit road for the first round of stops, a series of stops that saw Tracy run into Power as they raced out of their pit stalls and the fuel hose on Allmendinger's car break loose, spilling methanol onto pit road and destroying the electrics on Allmendinger's Forsythe Racing Lola.

Both Tracy and Allmendinger were forced to pit again but while Tracy would soon embark on a typically tenacious fight up the leaderboard, Allmendinger's day would come to an end on lap 19 when he clouted the turn three wall in an effort to regain some of his lost positions and retired on the spot.

Allmendinger's retirement sealed the championship for Bourdais, who was now running fourth behind Power, new leader Jan Heylen who had yet to pit and Heylen's fellow rookie Charles Zwolsman who pitted under green flag conditions on lap eleven.

With the pressure now off him Bourdais could now afford to take a few risks in his efforts to get by Power, who elicited a huge cheer from every Aussie filled grandstand he passed on his way around the tortuous 2.795-mile 12-turn street course. However the risk he took heading down towards turn three on lap 28 wasn't the one the home crowd was hoping for, as Bourdais locked his front tyres as he attempted to take the inside line and slid past Power towards the escape road. With nowhere, and no room to go Power clipped the rear of Bourdais' car and damaged his left front steering arm.

While Bourdais was able to get his car turned around and back into the race without damage, Power slid to a halt at the next corner, his steering seemingly ruined. This brought out the yellow flags as Power recovered to the pits where, against all the odds Power's team were able to hammer the bent arm back into reasonable shape and get their driver back into the race. Sadly in the process of doing so Power lost a lap to the leaders and now armed with a less than straight car, his fairytale weekend was over.

With Zwolsman choosing this interlude in which to make his first stop and Bourdais at the tail of the lead lap following a precautionary stop, Oriol Servia led a very different looking leaderboard to the lap 32 restart.

Behind Servia was a fiery Philippe, who lost ground during the first stops, Power's teammate Alex Tagliani, a slow-burning Andrew Ranger, the recovering Tracy, series debutant Andreas Wirth, an off-form Bruno Junqueira, 2003 Surfers winner Mario Dominguez, Zwolsman and Dominguez's Rocketsports teammate Antonio Pizzonia. Bourdais ran 12th and would soon be hit with a drive through penalty for his misjudged move on Power while the second Australian in the race, Ryan Briscoe in the lone RuSPORT entry, ran 13th one lap off the pace after a pit road collision with Mario Dominguez and his own excursion in turn eight.

At the front Philippe was clearly the quicker of the two leaders and took the lead with a finely judged lap 34 move on the run into turn one, a situation made more dramatic by Servia's subsequent lock-up and brush with the rear of Philippe's car under breaking for the chicane.

Philippe quickly sprinted away leaving the rest to squabble behind him. And squabble they did with Tagliani wresting second away from an under-fire Servia on lap 36. Tracy followed Tagliani through at his second attempt on lap 37 and was quickly followed by Junqueira and a rapidly rising Dominguez.

By lap 38 Philippe had built an incredible seven second lead and chose to make his final stop on the following lap, giving Tracy the lead for three further laps before he made his stop. Although Tracy was able to exit the pits ahead of Philippe, the young CTE Racing-HVM was able to pass the 2003 series champion as Tracy battled with his new but not up to temperature tyres.

Junqueira and Dominguez assumed the top two spots until the Brazilian pitted on lap 44. Half way around that lap Heylen stuffed his Dale Coyne Lola into the turn eight tyre barriers to bring out the fourth and final caution period of the afternoon. Dominguez and a few other quick thinking teams managed to dive onto pit road before it closed whereas Pizzonia missed the call and stayed out to assume an unexpected yet temporary lead.

The Heylen caution was extended when PKV Racing rookie Katherine Legge suffered her third and finally terminal 'off' of the day, hitting the turn one wall on cold tyres as she completed her final stop. Legge's crash completed a dismal couple of minutes for the PKV team, who also retired Servia's leaking machine with gearbox troubles under the same caution.

Pizzonia eventually led the field to green on lap 50 and behind 'Jungle Boy,' who would still have to make a late stop for fuel, sat Philippe, Dominguez and Tracy, who was adjudged to have passed his former teammate under the yellow flags and was ordered to drop from third to fourth. Behind the simmering Forsythe driver was Tagliani, Junqueira, Ranger, Bourdais, Zwolsman and Wirth who completed the lead lap runners.

After holding off a breathtaking turn five move from Dominguez on lap 51 Philippe assumed the lead on lap 52 when Pizzonia finally stopped and caught a small break when Tracy began attacking Dominguez for second. However Tracy's afternoon got even worse when he cut across the VB chicane and not only had to drop back from Dominguez's bumper but also had to surrender third place to Tagliani at the request of the race director.

Philippe and Dominguez were left to duel it out amongst themselves for the win with Dominguez saving his last 'push to pass' for the run past the white flag. Dominguez got agonisingly close to Philippe going into turn one on the final lap but a slight mistake by the Rocketsports driver coming out of turn four gave Philippe the critical advantage he needed.

With the crowd cheering enthusiastically, but nowhere near as enthusiastically as they had done earlier for Power, Philippe took the chequered flag by seven tenths of a second from Dominguez with Tagliani salvaging a podium for Team Australia some six seconds behind.

Tracy crossed the line in fourth spot after an afternoon in which he incurred three penalties in two separate incidents while Ranger admirably held off both Newman-Haas cars to complete the top five. While Junqueira followed Ranger across the line in sixth position Bourdais' miserable afternoon finally concluded in eighth place after a last lap visit to the turn nine escape road. Bourdais' demotion elevated Zwolsman to seventh with Wirth and Pizzonia completing the top ten.

Eleventh and twelfth wasn't what either Briscoe or Power had hoped for, the two home country drivers completing the list of classified finishers.

Despite his own bad day, Bourdais clinches the title with 353 points to Allmendinger's 285 with non-starter Justin Wilson third on 269 and Philippe now fourth with 214. The battle for fourth overall will be the highlight of the final round in Mexico City with Philippe, Tracy, Dominguez and Junqueira separated by less than 20 points. Behind them Power leads another train of five drivers split by just 15 points leaving lots to play for at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.