Sebastien Bourdais produced one of the drives of his life to win the Grand Prix of Denver after fighting back up the field from a spin at the very first corner of the race to take his fifth win of the Champ Car season.

Bourdais, who already held the biggest lead in the championship this season, pushed his lead out to an impressive 56 points as his amazing run of consistent performances continued. The victory marked the seventh time the Frenchman has finished on the podium this season with only nine races having been run.

However Bourdais was not about to make it easy for himself. Starting from pole position, he became involved in an incident with teammate Bruno Junqueira for the second time in a week.

As Junqueira tried to pass for the lead, the two touched with Bourdais coming off worst and spinning to the back of the field. As other drivers also spun, the full course yellow went out, restricting the possible time loss for Bourdais, who came round to join the rear of the field in 13th place after a number of other cars pitted.

The race restarted and within two laps Bourdais was up to eleventh. By lap nine he was past Jimmy Vasser, Mario Haberfeld and Justin Wilson and into the top eight before joining onto the back of a tail of cars at the head of the order.

On lap 19, Bourdais was past Ryan Hunter-Reay for seventh and then set his sights on Rookie of the Year leader AJ Allmendinger in sixth. Problems for Patrick Carpentier dropped him down the order, with Bourdais finally making a move on Allmendinger on lap 32 for what was now fourth before his first pitstop on lap 40.

He retained fourth after his stop, closing an eleven second gap to teammate Junqueira in just ten laps before passing him for third on lap 55.

Prior to his final stop on lap 68, Bourdais had closed to within three seconds of second placed man Mario Dominguez with reigning champion Paul Tracy out front. When Carpentier exited the pitlane behind Tracy and ahead of the battle for second, the Canadian was able to build a bit of an advantage. Bourdais retained third after the leaders pitted.

Then on lap 74, the race was hit by its second full course yellow of the afternoon when Hunter-Reay spun and stalled.

On the restart five laps later, Bourdais immediately dived past Dominguez into turn one for second before charging past Tracy as both drivers were using the 'push to pass' going into turn nine.

Despite being worried that something was wrong with the rear left of the car, Bourdais edged away from his pursuers to take a victory that looked a lot more comfortable on a results sheet than it actually was, especially when something then broke on the car after Bourdais had taken the flag.

"I think it is the most beautiful win for sure," he said afterwards. "To start on the pole and have a difficult start and then work your way back to first place, I think it's pretty amazing. It is a great feeling, I'm very proud of the McDonald's team.

"We didn't give up. I had to pass guys on the track and earn my way back to the top, and we were able to do that in the McDonald's car. We had an awesome car all weekend out of the truck. When I was running in fourth, I realised I could possibly win this, but it was not going to be very easy. This is the best street race in a long time and it was a terrific weekend. I am very, very happy.

"The push to pass, obviously helped me big-time and I think that was probably the best street race we have seen in quite a long time now. I think now the rules are pretty clear, you are not supposed to change your line and Mario was kind of staying in the middle of the racetrack. I used the push to pass; he used it two seconds later, so I had kind of a jump. I was alongside him. He squeezed me in the braking zone and made the turn when I was still there. I tried the curb, but there was really nothing I could do and we had a contact. We have been very, very lucky to stay on the racetrack.

"I thought it was pretty much over because the steering wheel was turned, the front suspension was bent and the steering wheel was not straight anymore. "The next two laps were difficult and then I think Paul must have made a small mistake, probably went off-line just very slightly and put some marbles on the tyres. From then he was struggling so bad and I thought I wouldn't have a hard time to pass him, but it was surviving basically and I took the shot and passed him and from there, nobody could really stop us. I think we both used the push to pass and I have to thank Paul, he has been very fair. He gave me plenty of room to try my move and I braked later and it's been very, very fair with Paul."

"I don't know what happened at the end because I think we had a suspension failure or flow failure, whatever, but the thing was bottoming very bad and was pulling to the right, so right before the last turn of the last lap so I think I am pretty happy that we didn't have 107 laps or something like that, because probably we would not have make it."

Reigning champion Paul Tracy believes everything is now going right for the man who, barring a change in fortune, looks likely to take the crown away from him.

"Everything he touches turns into a Golden Arch, so it's just kind of the way it is," he said. "I had some of that last year and you know, a lot of times I was very lucky when reds came out during qualifying and I always seemed to get my lap right before the red came out. It's just not happening that way this year.

"It's his turn right now."