Just one week after gaining ground on points leader Paul Tracy and second place man Bruno Junqueira courtesy of victory in Montreal, Michel Jourdain Jr saw his good work undone as he struggled to sixth position in Sunday's Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver.

The Mexican born driver battled an ill handling car and a lack of grip during the 106-lap race around Denver's ludicrously tight 1.647-mile circuit layout and was unable to mount a threat to any of the cars ahead of him.

However a combination of attrition and clean pit work from the Gigante sponsored Team Rahal crew enabled Jourdain to capitalise on the errors of others and bring home eight valuable championship points for sixth position, holding off a charging Mario Dominguez in the closing laps.

The sixth place finish capped a frustrating weekend for the Gigante team, which hoped to capitalise on its win last week at Montreal and build momentum. Jourdain did post his 13th points paying result of the season and he pushed his career high in points to 165 with his eleventh top-six finish of the season.

"It was a very long day and we did the best we could hope for," said Jourdain. "We fought a lack of grip all day and one of the changes we made in the middle of the race made the car worse. We changed it back on the next stop and the car got a little better, but we were still lacking a lot of speed compared to everyone else. We lost a few points to Paul [Tracy] in the championship and that is unfortunate, but it could have been a lot worse."

Jourdain did lose ground to championship leader Paul Tracy who finished fourth. Tracy leads Jourdain by 39 points with four races remaining in the 2003 season. Bruno Junqueira, the championship runner-up a year ago, closed to within 18 points of Tracy for the series lead with a dominating win from the pole. Junqueira was followed closely by his teammate Sebastien Bourdais in leading a 1-2 Newman-Haas finish.

The Champ Car World Series will take a three-week hiatus before resuming with the Grand Prix of Miami September 26- 28.

 

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