Paul Tracy romped home to victory in the 2003 Champ Car World Series season opener in St Petersburg after early race leader Sebastien Bourdais made a rookie mistake and slapped the tyre barriers.

The inaugural Grand Prix of St Petersburg provided some great entertainment for a large and enthusiastic crowd with Tracy running out a relatively easy winner on his debut for Player's Forsythe Racing.

Tracy led the final 68 laps of the 105-lap event to lead Team Rahal's Michel Jourdain Jr across the finish line by a comfortable margin of 12 seconds after rookie Sebastien Bourdais slapped the wall and his Player's Forsythe Racing teammate Patrick Carpentier crunched the tyres. Bourdais had led the opening portion of the race in his CART debut for Newman-Haas Racing before brushing the wall and damaging his suspension while Carpentier was shadowing Tracy for the lead when he struck the turn eight tyres on lap 49.

The second Newman-Haas Racing Lola-Ford of pre-season title favourite Bruno Junqueira finished in third position while rookie Mario Haberfeld drove well to an outstanding fourth position for Conquest Racing.

Veteran Roberto Moreno finished fifth on his debut for Team Herdez with Jimmy Vasser sixth and Tiago Monteiro seventh for first time teams American Spirit Team Johansson and Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing respectively.

Carpentier and Bourdais both completed the race, albeit many laps down although a gearbox problem forced Briton Darren Manning out of the running whilst he was on course for a strong top six finish.

Grand Prix of St Petersburg - Leading finishers.

1. Paul Tracy
2. Michel Jourdain Jr
3. Bruno Junqueira
4. Mario Haberfeld
5. Roberto Moreno
6. Jimmy Vasser
7. Tiago Monteiro
8. Patrick Carpentier
9. Joel Camathias
10. Patrick Lemarie

Full results and report to follow.