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NHL RACING HAS BANNER DAY WITH A ONE-TWO FINISH IN THE GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON

 
 

Champ CarHOUSTON (April 22, 2007) - After being penalized following qualifying for the Grand Prix of Houston Sebastien Bourdais was set for a showdown with Team Australia's Will Power, but it was his teammate, rookie Graham Rahal who filled his mirrors for most of the day. In the end, Bourdais earned his 25th career win and Rahal earned his first podium with a runner-up finish.

Bourdais moved into the lead right at the start but had to surrender the position for shortcutting the course. The Frenchman was undaunted as he patiently waited until lap 14 to take the lead from Justin Wilson and then built a lead for the next 13 circuits until a full course caution slowed the pace and brought the entire field to pit road. During the pit stops, Bourdais' McDonald's crew sent him back out in the lead with Forsythe Championship Racing's Oriol Servia second and Bourdais' teammate Rahal third.

The top three remained that way until a round of green flag pitstops began on lap 66 when Servia ducked onto pit road for service. Unfortunately for Servia his teammate Mario Dominguez was also on pit road and delayed Servia's exit from his pit box. The delay on pit road combined with an extra lap on track by the 18-year-old Rahal moved the young American into position to track down his teammate and battle for the lead.

Just as Rahal exits pit lane the yellow flag flies again as Will Power and Mario Dominguez get together in Turn 6 while at the same time Katherine Legge, Neel Jani and Dan Clarke make contact in Turn 2. The Turn 2 incident ends the day for the trio and the yellow flag gives the lead to Tristan Gommendy.

Gommendy used a similar strategy last weekend in Long Beach and here in Houston the Frenchman paced the field for 18 laps before running out of fuel at the entrance to pit lane with just seven laps remaining. While all of this was going on Dutchman Robert Doornbos was slowly moving his way up through the field and after Gommendy retired Doornbos was positioned for his second podium finish in three Champ Car starts.

Oriol Servia overcame his difficulty on pit lane to finish fourth in his second race filling-in for the injured Paul Tracy while Team Australia's Simon Pagenaud claimed his first career top-five finish.

As the Champ Car World Series now takes a breath after three straight races, a familiar face is back atop the points standings with 73 markers. Will Power is just three points behind with 70 in second place and rookie Robert Doornbos is third with 61. Alex Tagliani and Bruno Junqueira round out the top-five in the race for the 2007 Vanderbilt Cup.

The Champ Car World Series will head to the Great Northwest for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe's at Portland International Raceway.

 

 
 
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