The golden rule of motorsport is to never take your teammate off during the race, but no-one seemed to tell Newman Haas duo Sebastien Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira.

They clashed on track during the Grand Prix of Road America and, while Bourdais was able to carry on to third, his Brazilian partner lost a lap in a race where most things that could have gone wrong, did go wrong.

Junqueira had been running in second place before a full course caution was put out on lap 12 when Roberto Gonzalez went of into the gravel trap.

On a botched restart that led to complaints from a number of drivers, Junqueira had to take avoiding action when he said Bourdais jumped on the brakes and he ended up taking to the grass to avoid a collision, dropping to fourth in the process.

Then, approaching the first green flag pit stop, the duo made contact heading into turn one as Junqueira tried to make a move on the championship leader.

While Bourdais continued, albeit with suspension damage, Junqueira had to stop, with a full course caution put in place as he restarted and recovered to the pits with a puncture.

After fighting back up the order, Junqueira then came up behind reigning champion Paul Tracy after the Forsythe driver made his final stop of the day. After making the pass, Junqueira was then rear ended by the Canadian who locked up on cold tyres. Although Tracy got a drive through penalty for "avoidable contact", Junqueira was further delayed eventually coming home in 15th, two laps down on race winner Tagliani.

At a circuit where he has won twice in the past, Junqueira was obviously disappointed with how the race developed.

"I had a good start and moved from fourth place to second," he said. "I felt my car was much faster than Sebastien's but I was trying to save fuel and go one lap longer before I had to make my first pit stop.

"The restart after the yellow was a nightmare. I think there was a mistake made about the acceleration point on the restart and it changed the race. Coming around for the restart, Sebastien braked hard mid-corner and I had to brake hard to avoid hitting him and went in to the grass. Then Paul [Tracy] was four car lengths ahead of me instead of in third. [Oriol] Servia was also beside me but no decision was made to correct the situation. We felt Tracy jumped the restart and should have been penalised.

"A few laps later Sebastien made two mistakes and I came beside him to pass and his wheel spun me around and took me out of the race. It put me one lap down. I had a fast car and set the fastest lap after that but I was one lap down so there was no way to win. It's a shame because the PacifiCare car was fast enough to win today.

"Then Tracy came out of the pits on cold tyres and I passed him but going into the turn five he ran into me with his chrome horn."

Junqueira will now aim to put his title challenge back on track as the series heads to Denver, a race he has won the last two times it has been held.



Loading Comments...