Will Power ultimately cruised to victory in the seventh round of the Champ Car World Series, but not before everyone had endured a rough crossing in the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto.

With the morning's Champ Car Atlantic race having been interrupted by a red flag due to the amount of water on track after a torrential downpour, things did not bode well for the main event of the weekend - or the forecast mid-30s temperatures - when leaden skies lay dormant over the Champ Car grid.

For the second round in a row, the field faced the likelihood of mixed conditions, so it was ironic that the greatest damage was done on the opening lap, when the track was largely dry and visibility the best it would be all race. It was also symptomatic of the event's fortune that its central character, local hero Paul Tracy, should be among those taken out of contention early on, the Toronto native the victim of some more bad luck.

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While Forsythe team-mate Oriol Servia made the best getaway to vault past front row men Sebastien Bourdais and Justin Wilson, Tracy remained embedded in the midfield - and was therefore ideally placed to collect an bodywork going astray as the field negotiated the tight confines of the temporary Exhibition Place circuit. True to form, at least one car ran into trouble, with Simon Pagenaud losing his nosewing after minor contact with Alex Tagliani. Tracy, however, was oblivious to the fact that the offending item had lodged itself under his own wing and, after understeering wildly in a couple of subsequent turns, were eventually powerless to prevent the ~3 car from ploughing into the wall at turn seven.

Unfortunately for those behind the Canadian, the corner is blind and, with the pack so tightly bunched, it was inevitable that the backmarkers would reach the incident before the yellow flags could be unfurled.Jan Heylen was among the first on the scene, the Belgian checking up hurriedly and catching Tristan Gommendy unawares. The Frenchman had nowhere to go but over the rear of Heylen's Conquest car - which has had to be rebuilt after each of its last two race outings - and went almost vertical before crashing back down to earth.

Gommendy's 'moment' saw the chasing Katherine Legge, Graham Rahal and Alex Figge all take avoiding action, with the British girl collecting the wall and then Tracy's car before her accident was compounded by a secondary impact from Figge. Rahal, meanwhile, spun without too much damage and was able to join Heylen in limping back to the pits. It was day done for the Belgian, but Rahal was able to continue after a cautionary check.

Aside from the eleven cars running ahead of the incident, one other escaped unscathed as Robert Doornbos only happened on the melee after being restarted by the safety crew on the grid. Had the Mont-Tremblant winner been running in position, he too would likely have been caught up in the wreck, which took fully seven laps to clear.

Pagenaud and Tagliani both pitted under the safety car but, while the Frenchman was able to wait for the pits to open before calling in for a new nose, his Canadian rival was forced to enter a closed pit in order to have his punctured rear replaced. The ensuing penalty dropped the RSports driver to tail of the field and really kick-started a frustrating afternoon for him.

The order approaching the restart had Servia heading Bourdais, Wilson, Bruno Junqueira, Power, Neel Jani, Dan Clarke, Pagenaud, Doornbos, Ryan Dalziel, Tagliani and Rahal, with a smattering of the alter runners having opted to top off their tanks in the realisation that further cautions would be likely.

Clarke on Jani was the only move of note before the premonition became reality, this time briefly for debris in turn three, but the second restart saw Power blow by qualifying rival Junqueira and Tagliani put a move on Dalziel after the Quebecois had emerged from a quick splash and dash. There was action further forward too, with Wilson taking a run at Bourdais after the Frenchman appeared to bog down in turn three. The move was clumsy, however, and resulted in Wilson spinning to the inside of the road after clattering the kerb and barging his rival amidships. Bourdais escaped unharmed, while Wilson set about charging back from twelfth and last on the road.

The closely following Clarke ducked inside Junqueira in the confusion but, having been told to hand the position back as the move came questionably close to the yellows over Wilson, then saw his composure slip, allowing Jani and Pagenaud to pass him in quick succession.

Out front, Bourdais set about showing that there were no ill-effects from the contact with Wilson by closing in on Servia, the Spaniard having to resist a look on lap 20 before being told that he was free to use his fuel in an effort to break the Frenchman's attraction. Ten laps later and the gap between them was up to nearly nine seconds, but Servia then tossed away any advantage by making a slow exit from turn six and allowing Bourdais to pounce. The timing of the pass could not have been more crucial with the pit-stop window opening, and eventually cost Servia dear.

Wilson, Bourdais and the Catalan had all just pitted when the first spots of rain were detected on pit-road, but the remaining stoppers all opted for a change of slicks instead of taking the opportunity to gamble on wets - except one.

When Tagliani hit the wall in turn three and Servia came close to joining him in the tyres before stalling, Pacific Coast Motorsport's decision to fit wets on Dalziel's car looked like a stroke of genius, especially as the call came just before the pit-lane closed again for the safety car period required to remove the stricken machines. By the time that everyone had cottoned on to the fact that wets were now de rigeur, Dalziel and PCM had made up enough of the deficit to cycle to the front of the pack.

When, three laps later, racing resumed, only one car remained on slicks, Clarke and Minardi Team USA trying PCM's trick in reverse. With the squall proving to be fleeting, the decision also appeared cute - until Clarke again ran out of patience and put the #4 machine into the wall.

It mattered little, for the rain began again in earnest less than a lap later, leaving Dalziel to defend from Power, who had passed Jani at almost the same time that Clarke was sliding off. The Swiss ace looked to retake the position on the ensuing restart, but was rebuffed and immediately fell under the gaze of Bourdais. Having complained vehemently about Doornbos' tactics after Mont-Tremblant, the Frenchman would no doubt have had a few things to say about Jani's unorthodox lines, as the PKV driver persisted in running the wrong side of the line painted to keep blocking to a minimum into turn three.

Frustrated in his attempts to pass, Bourdais then began to feel pressure from behind as Newman/Haas/Lanigan team-mate Rahal homed in, his alternate strategy having vaulted him up the order. The American clearly felt at home in the tricky conditions, but later admitted to be a little over-confident after clipping the rear of Bourdais and then catching the tyre bale on the outside of three with his left front wheel. Again, the McDonalds car came off unhurt, but Rahal was left to make another trip to the pits for repairs.

This time, the damage appeared more substantial, but the crew sent Rahal on his way - even though his hands were anything but 'ten-to-two' as he pulled away from the stall. His suspicions that the suspension was more badly damaged than the team realised was proven less than a handful of corners into the next lap, as the Medi Zone car spun into the wall under acceleration, confirming the 18-year old's exit.

The next green flag period last long enough for Power to make his bid for the front, passing the gallant Dalziel in turn three on lap 57, but was brought to an abrupt halt when Servia wiped several corners from his car in the quick final turn. Again, the Spaniard was unhurt, but the race took another beating while the wreckage was cleared away.

The conditions refused to abate, with great rooster tails of spray making one car from the next, but that did not deter either Jani or Wilson, who continued their own march towards the front by passing Dalziel and Bourdais for second and fourth respectively. Bourdais then came under pressure from Tremblant foe Doornbos and, almost inevitably, the matter ended acrimoniously. This time, Doornbos definitely looked more at fault, the Dutchman appearing to miss his braking point at three and nerfing Bourdais - with whom he shared the championship lead coming into the weekend - into the tyre wall. This time, Bourdais' luck ran out, the rear of the #1 machine too badly damaged to continue, while Doornbos limped back to the pits in an effort to get enough of a repair to continue and reap more points than his rival.

Again competition was suspended for a matter of laps, but the full course caution still did not prevent incident on the restart, this time as Wilson got inside Dalziel - again at turn three - only to catch the Scot's car with his rear wheel and turn it into the wall. The blow was low speed and glancing, but enough to end PCM's hopes of a maiden podium, its driver eventually coming home in seventh.

That put Dalziel ahead of Tagliani and Bourdais in the list of classified finishers, but behind Doornbos, who made the most of the final few laps to pass both 'Tag' and the PCM machine. It was enough to move the Dutchman into an outright lead in the championship, despite what was going on up front.

There, pulling away from the those in his wake, Power sailed on to take his second victory of the year - and in very different condition to his first, in Vegas, back in April. The Team Australia driver had shown last weekend that he was able to run as well in the wet as he did in the dry and, given the opportunity, confirmed it in Toronto. The win was enough to also lift Power ahead of Bourdais, demoting the Frenchman to third overall.

Behind Jani and Wilson, who battled right to the line, Pagenaud brought home a second successive fourth place for Team Australia, confirming its position at the head of the inaugural Canadian Triple Crown standings. Junqueira battled on to secure Dale Coyne Racing's best result of the year in fifth, ahead of Doornbos, Dalziel and co.