Sebastien Bourdais has secured his place in American motor racing history after becoming the first person to clinch four consecutive major championship titles.

The Newman Haas Lanigan Racing driver went into the penultimate round of the Champ Car World Series season with a healthy lead over Justin Wilson in the race for the Vanderbilt Cup, but clinched the title in fine style by becoming the first return winner on the streets of Surfers Paradise.

After a crash in first qualifying and a gearbox issue in the second session, the Frenchman started the race from fourth on the grid but soon made up a place when Paul Tracy was tipped into a spin at turn one by Oriol Servia.

With the positions out front changing throughout the race as different drivers adopted different fuel strategies, Bourdais found himself in the lead once the pit-stops played through having been fuelled longer than Wilson during the middle-stint of the race. With a six second lead after his final stop, Bourdais was able to take the flag for a 30th career victory.

"It was one of those races where I decided to have fun with it and give it all we had," he said. "For the McDonald's team to win the race, win the championship, be the first repeat winner in Surfers - what a day!

"We had a very, very good balance on the car with the Bridgestone primes. When I saw Justin out there doing so well on the reds, I thought maybe we should put them back on. Whatever tyres you picked, it was just a matter of timing because they were going to perform for you. These have been the best racing years of my life. We've had an awesome stretch of years here and really enjoyed it.

"We had a great fight with Justin when he short-filled and got ahead of us. Then we had to stay with him with a heavier car, and we pulled it off. Coming to that last corner, it's all the emotions flowing through your mind. You realise how much has come to you and how much you've achieved with these guys and you get the sense that it's coming to an end very closely now. What a fun five years it's been; I'm not going to forget about it any time soon."

Bourdais added that he was delighted to have wrapped up the title with a victory and would now chase further glory in his final Champ Car outing before making the switch to Toro Rosso and Formula 1.

"Obviously to take that championship with a win today means a lot," he continued. "At least we'll be in a mood to celebrate and have a great party.

"There's one more race to go before we turn the page of my Champ Car career, and we'll just give it our very best again in Mexico City. It's a place that's been very good to us in the past years, and now we'll try and have one more time a lot of fun and, if possible, a win.

"It's a great challenge that awaits me for next year with the Toro Rosso team and it's the long-time dream for me to end up in F1. Like I said though, for now I'm a Newman Haas Lanigan driver, driving that McDonald's car and I'll think about next year when it's time."


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