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Zolder 2007: Bourdais 'chocolate' in Belgium.


Sebastien Bourdais took another big step towards securing a fourth Vanderbilt Cup by turning in a sweet drive to win the inaugural Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium at Zolder.

The Frenchman got away cleanly from pole, leaving the squabble into the tight first turn to be headed by title rivals Will Power and Robert Doornbos. Making the most of starting on the same line as Bourdais, the Dutchman snatched an early advantage, demoting Power to third, as Justin Wilson did likewise to Bruno Junqueira.

Simon Pagenaud made a poor getaway, dropping two places to tenth, while Katherine Legge dropped from a hard-earned 14th on the grid to 16th after being pushed wide at turn one.

Thankfully, there was no incident at the opening corner, despite Doornbos and Power going wheel-to-wheel, although the Australian was probably ruing the decision to start on the harder black-walled Bridgestones when the majority of his rivals opted for red. Cooler conditions prevailed over Zolder, meaning that Power had to work harder to get his rubber up to temperature, allowing not only Bourdais, but also Doornbos, to pull away in the opening stint.

Legge dropped to the very back when Alex Figge got past the Dale Coyne car on lap two, with Alex Tagliani taking advantage of Paul Tracy putting two wheels onto the sandy verge two laps later to reclaim the sixth place he had lost to his fellow Canadian at the start. Pagenaud, meanwhile, saw his situation worsen when both Jan Heylen and Mario Dominguez demoted him, with Tracy losing another spot, to Neel Jani, on lap 15. In all cases, however, it took a mistake from the car ahead for those chasing to pass, confirming pre-race speculation that Zolder was just too narrow to enable unaided overtaking.

Just as the field was beginning to spread out, however, the organisers threw a full course yellow to attend to kerbing that had gone awry at the turn five chicane, scene of much aerial activity during the weekend. After spending a lap being the safety car, the entire field opted to pit, even though the caution came some nine laps before the expected pit window.

All bar Doornbos and Tristan Gommendy opted to take on black rubber – including Power and Graham Rahal, who had started on the harder compound – and while Pagenaud used the stop to claw back some of his lost ground, climbing to eighth, Bruno Junqueira saw his frontrunning fourth place descend into 15th after a long fill and Mario Dominguez also dropped to the back, where Legge continued to occupy 17th spot..

The race really began to look interesting when Figge dropped the Pacific Coast car in the turn one gravel trap on lap 26. Coming just ten laps after the initial caution, the second safety car period of the afternoon provided an opportunity for those hoping to salvage a decent result to switch to an alternative strategy.

Sixth-placed Tagliani was the highest placed driver to take advantage of the situation, but he was followed in by Tracy, Servia, Rahal, Junqueira and Dominguez, while Figge made a cautionary check after he had been recovered from the hazard. Rahal was stationary for some five seconds less than his rivals, rejoining at the front of the queue – and quickly disposing of Legge on the restart - t suggesting that his alternative strategy may be a little more extreme than the rest.



Related Pictures

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Champ Car World Series. 10-12 August 2007. Road America. Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin USA. Sebastien Bourdais.
Champ Car World Series. 10-12 August 2007. Road America. Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin USA. Bruno Junqueira.
Champ Car World Series. 10-12 August 2007. Road America. Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin USA. Graham Rahal.
Sebastien Bourdais exits pit lane during practice for the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at the Milwaukee Mile (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon (right), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 3, 2014 during the IndyCar Series race at Mid Ohio Raceway in Lexington, Ohio. Sebastien Bourdais (left), driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, finished second. It`s Dixon`s first victory of the season. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais celebrates second place in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sport Car Course on Sunday August 3 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais and Josef Newgarden lead the field into Turn 6 during the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais apexes Turn 1 during during practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates with his family after winning the pole during qualifying Saturday, August 2, 2014 for Sunday`s IndyCar Series race at Mid Ohio Raceway in Lexington, Ohio, (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole during qualifying Saturday, August 2, 2014 for Sunday`s IndyCar Series race at Mid Ohio Raceway in Lexington, Ohio, (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole during qualifying Saturday, August 2, 2014 for Sunday`s IndyCar Series race at Mid Ohio Raceway in Lexington, Ohio, (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole during qualifying Saturday, August 2, 2014 for Sunday`s IndyCar Series race at Mid Ohio Raceway in Lexington, Ohio, (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais celebrates winning pole position for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Source on Saturday, August 2 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais celebrates winning pole position for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Source on Saturday, August 2 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais celebrates winning pole position for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Source on Saturday, August 2 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais celebrates winning pole position for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Source on Saturday, August 2 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais celebrates winning pole position for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Source on Saturday, August 2 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)

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