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Wilson wins at Assen
Assen, The Netherlands (Sports Network) - Justin Wilson captured Sunday's Bavarian Champ Car Grand Prix at the TT Circuit Assen in The Netherlands. The No.9 RuSport driver crossed the finish line 7.226 seconds ahead of Jan Heylen.
The victory was Wilson's first of the season and fourth of his Champ Car career.
"The crew did a fantastic job and the car was working great," said Wilson.
Justin Wilson beat pole winner Sebastien Bourdais into the first turn and the race was on. In fact, on the day when the Frenchman could possibly clinch his fourth straight title, he fell all the way to fifth at the start.
And differing pit strategies began early when Robert Doornbos, one of Bourdais' primary championship contenders, pitted on lap two for fuel. Oriol Servia did the same thing.
On the narrow Assen circuit, the field settled into more of a parade than a race with little passing. Through the first 10 laps, Wilson led three rookies (Neel Jani, Tristan Gommendy, Graham Rahal) and Bourdais.
On the first round of pit stops, Bruno Junqueira stayed out after pitting on an alternate strategy, to become the race leader. Bourdais fell to seventh during this time, but he was still four places ahead of Doornbos.
Bourdais got one position that he lost when his Newman/Haas/Lanigan teammate Graham Rahal slowed on lap 20 and was passed by three cars.
Up front, Junqueira was building his lead to four seconds after 20 laps and hoping that with the right caution flags he could finish the race with just two more stops.
Neel Jani was the next to slide back and Bourdais was up to fifth, six places ahead of Doornbos. Bourdais, who needed to finish 68 points ahead of Doornbos or Wilson after the race to win another championship, entered the day with a 54-point edge and held 11 points in the race so far.
But the race still had one hour to go. Junqueira, who made a stop on lap eight, was due in shortly. His lead was 8.886 seconds over Wilson. On lap 28 Junqueira finally gave up the lead, falling to 16th. Just two laps later a caution flag for debris sent everyone, except Junqueira, scurrying down pit lane. Bourdais, who stalled, had a long pit stop and fell to 16th.
Fifty minutes to go and Junqueira was the leader again with Wilson and Jan Heylen in third. Bourdais wasn't just sitting in the back after his mistake. He quickly passed Alex Tagliani, Katherine Legge and Alex Figge to reach 13th place. Bourdais continued his march, getting past Ryan Dalziel for 12th.
Junqueira's lead was 3.708 seconds with 28 minutes remaining and the field beginning their final stops. He turned down pit road on lap 49 and Wilson inherited the lead. When everyone had cycled through it was Wilson and Heylen ahead of Junqueira. Bourdais was also still moving up and was now four positions ahead of Doornbos.
Junqueira's No.19 Dale Coyne Racing machine was seemingly off the pace leaving it to Wilson and Heylen. Wilson's lead was 2.006 seconds with 14 minutes to go. A couple of laps later the lead was 3.777 seconds and the race was over. Only a mechanical failure or huge driver error could prevent Wilson from the victory. There was neither as Wilson cruised to his first win of 2007.
Bourdais, who finished seventh, didn't clinch the title yet, but crept a little closer. He will bring a 58-point lead over Wilson (301-243) into the next race on Sunday, October 21st at Surfer's Paradise.
09/02 09:08:15 ET
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