22 July 2007
Edmonton 2007: Bourdais blows title race open.
Sebastien Bourdais received a useful boost to his quest for a fourth successive Champ Car World Series title when his victory in the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton was accompanied by poor results for Will Power and Robert Doornbos.
The Frenchman leapt into the lead at the start of the race, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, and led Power and Justin Wilson through to the first round of pit-stops, but then had to give chase to the Australian after their relative pit positions gave Power the upper hand. The roles were then reversed late in the race, before Power and Doornbos both ran into problems.
Having seized pole position in Saturday's second qualifying session, Power was confident that he could lead the early portion of one-and-three-quarter-hour race around Edmonton's City Centre Airport, but it was Bourdais who made the better start, sweeping around the outside of the Team Australia machine – which appeared to get excessive wheelspin off the line - at the quick opening turn.
Neel Jani also got a demon start from fifth, jumping both Graham Rahal and Wilson to hold third for the opening lap, before the Briton redressed the balance entering the second tour.
The entire 17-car field made it through the opening corner unscathed, with Ryan Dalziel moving up to sixth from eighth, only to drop the Pacific Coast car three laps later and fall to the rear of the field. That, however, was the only incident of note as the race unfolded, with the order changing little as drivers attempted to save fuel.
The real action was at the rear where Mario Dominguez – a late, late substitute for the injured Tristan Gommendy at PKV – made up early ground, passing Alex Figge and Katherine Legge to turn last spot on the grid into 14th by lap eight. The recovering Dalziel also passed both drivers in quick succession, with Legge appearing to be in some sort of trouble as Figge also moved ahead, relegating the British girl to 17th.
With Bourdais easing away from Power, and the Aussie doing likewise to Wilson, it took a full course yellow to provide some excitement, the yellows flying for debris just as the pit window opened.
The entire field took the opportunity to duck in for fuel and tyres, but it was Power who emerged first, the yellow-and-green car on the red option Bridgestones. Bourdais was back in third, the legacy of a poor pit box following his Toronto result and an inadvertent block from Legge as she trailed the rest of the field in for her stop. Jani was another in trouble, the Swiss driver getting a slow turnaround from PKV and dropping to the back of the pack.
With the field still held behind the safety car for a lap or so after all had rejoined, Jani was able to make short work of Legge and Figge at the green, and Power also wasted little time in putting the hammer down, eking out a three-second lead over Wilson by lap 29.
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