Triple defending Champ Car World Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais shrugged off his nightmarish Las Vegas weekend to dominate Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and open his 2007 victory account at the second time of asking.

The Frenchman strolled to his third consecutive victory around the testing 1.97-mile Californian street circuit, comprehensively outclassing the rest of the field in a race that was still a far better advertisement for the new-look series than last weekend's shaky start in Las Vegas.

Although Bourdais' 24th career CWWS win (from just 61 starts) didn't come in a race packed with overtaking there was plenty of close quarters street course action to be found and, more importantly, the new Panoz chassis stood up far better mechanically than in the season opener just seven days ago.

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From the drop of the green flag the 17 strong field successfully negotiated the notoriously tricky first turn without a major pile-up for the first time in what seems like a decade with both drivers and event organisers breathing s collective sigh of relief that the already thin field wasn't depleted any further. Poleman Bourdais charged into a relatively unchallenged lead with outside front row starter and Las Vegas victor Will Power slotting in nicely behind the #1 McDonalds machine. A little further round the opening lap Pacific Coast rookie Alex Figge did run out of track but managed to keep his car off the walls and out of the barriers and returned to action one lap adrift without the need of a full course caution.

Team Australia driver Power was able to keep Bourdais honest through the opening couple of laps with his former Team Oz teammate Alex Tagliani forming the RSPORTS filling in a yellow and green sandwich in third place with impressive rookie Simon Pagenaud holding down fourth. However the early rhythm was disrupted on lap nine when Forsythe Racing's Mario Dominguez clouted the tyre barriers in turn nine to bring out the first full course caution period.

While the leaders chose to stay out several drivers running outside the top ten, including Paul Tracy's last minute replacement Oriol Servia, PKV Racing teammates Tristan Gommendy and Neel Jani and Minardi's Dan Clarke, dived onto pit road for an out of sequence stop that would have great bearings on the final results.

On the lap eleven restart Bourdais got the perfect jump on Power, who in turn found Tagliani forcing his way into second place but while the veteran Canadian driver had the pace to stay ahead of the Aussie born series sophomore the race leader was in a different class and had soon opened up a lead of nearly five seconds.

Power kept a watching brief of Tagliani as the race headed towards the first round of pitstops for the leading runners with Pagenaud and his fellow rookie Graham Rahal looking far more settled this weekend than last rounding out the top five.

The leaders began making their first stops on lap 30, briefly allowing Servia to take the lead before he had to pit on lap 39. However in the interim the Spaniard was able to use the clean air he enjoyed to vault past everybody bar Bourdais when he returned to the track on lap 42.

However such was Bourdais superiority on the track and his pit-crews speed off the track, the triple champ was sitting on a 20-second cushion over his nearest pursuers when the stops were completed. New second place man Servia had breathing room between himself and a hard charging Tagliani who now had his RSPORTS stablemate Justin Wilson for company after a quick stop enabled him to negotiate Pagenaud and Rahal and then a decisive move on Power gained him another spot.

All of Bourdais' hard work was negated on lap 53 however when the yellow flags were out for a second time for Pagenaud's turn eight argument with the tyre barriers and while this caution period gave all the leaders (and Servia) the chance to make their final stops, it also meant that everybody would be closely watching their fuel gauges for the remainder of the race.

One driver who chose not to pit was PKV's Gommendy who, as one of the last cars on the lead lap, chose to take this opportunity to run at the front of the pack and inherited the lead for the lap 58 restart. Knowing that his fellow Frenchman would be making one more stop, Bourdais did not force the issue on Gommendy and allowed the former GP2 driver his ten laps in the sun before he made his last stop and dropped down the order. On regaining the lead once again Bourdais seemed content in allowing Servia to stay within a couple of seconds of the race lead although that lead was once again erased when Figge finally found the tyre barriers for good in turn eight.

The ensuing caution period was extended when it became apparent that Figge was in some discomfort and would require medical attention but despite being transported directly from the cockpit of his Pacific Coast Panoz into an awaiting ambulance, the American rookie was able to give the crowd an encouraging thumbs up before being taken to a local medical facility.

As a result of the extended clean-up period just two laps remained when racing resumed and unsurprisingly Bourdais was able to control the pace at the front over the final three and three quarter miles of racing, finishing two seconds ahead of Servia, who capped his last minute return to the championship with a well thought-out podium finish for Gerry Forsythe's team.

Behind the top two there was plenty of late chopping and changing after Pagenaud's demise from sixth place. First Power's crew returned the earlier favour on Wilson by getting their man out in front on the second round of stops for what would turn into the fight for fourth place. Then both Power and Wilson passed a struggling Tagliani for third and fourth places on the final restart as a 'Push to Pass-less' Tags paid dearly for his earlier attempts at hanging on to race leader Bourdais.

Bruno Junqueira enjoyed a steady and troublefree run to sixth place for Dale Coyne Racing with Neel Jani seventh, Graham Rahal eighth, Scotland's Ryan Dalziel ninth and Katherine Legge tenth. Legge lost out on ninth place when Dalziel passed her on the final lap but a second straight street circuit top ten will give her added confidence heading to next Sunday's race in Houston.

Gommendy finished eleventh and was the last driver to complete the full compliment of laps with Dan Clarke 12th after a patchy run that included a mid race spin and his Minardi Team USA teammate Robert Doornbos 13th after he lost several laps with an electrical problem.

Pagenaud was able to complete the race five laps adrift in 14th place while the unfortunate Matt Halliday was the only mechanical DNF in his Conquest Racing entry.

The teams and drivers now have just a week to recover before the third and final part of the season opening street course triple-header in Houston next Sunday where, after finally stretching his legs, Bourdais will be the man to beat.