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Bourdais wins race and fourth straight championship
Surfers Paradise, Australia (Sports Network) - Sebastien Bourdais clinched the 2007 Champ Car Series title in style, winning Sunday's Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise. The No.1 Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver crossed the finish line 6.775 seconds ahead of Justin Wilson.
The victory was Bourdais' seventh of the season and 30th of his Champ Car career. The fourth consecutive Vanderbilt Cup ties him with Mario Andretti for second most in the series behind A.J. Foyt's seven championships.
"I can't thank this McDonald's crew enough," said Bourdais. "They put me there once again...This one is really sweet."
A clean start for pole winner Will Power gave him the early race lead while Bruno Junqueira (stalled at start) and Paul Tracy (spin) had first lap problems.
With Tracy's problem, points leader Bourdais inherited third place. For the Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver, a 12th-place of better finish would clinch his fourth consecutive Champ Car title.
Power, the local favorite from Toowoomba, Australia, quickly built his lead to 1.953 seconds after six laps. The lead steadied at just under two seconds with Bourdais about three seconds behind until lap nine when a debris caution flag slowed the field.
Most of the field elected to pit for the first of three stops, but Power had an incident with David Martinez on pit road and it cost him big time.
Robert Doornbos, Tracy and Junqueira inherited the top-three positions by not pitting with Bourdais in fourth and Oriol Servia, Friday's provisional pole winner, in fifth place. Power was 15th.
The drivers stayed in line for the next few laps until a caution flag when Katherine Legge and Power came together on lap 19. It appeared that Power made an overly aggressive move that failed to work out.
Doornbos' pit crew quickly called him in before the yellow came out for fuel and new rubber. Bourdais inherited the lead with Servia just behind.
Bourdais knows what to do with the lead and by lap 25 his lead was 2.682 seconds.
But strategy might do Bourdais and Servia in. Tracy and Doornbos had worked all the caution flags and might only have to stop one more time to the leaders two. Tracy was up to seventh and the first of those who might have the advantage.
By lap 31 Tracy had passed two more cars and was up to fifth. When the leader pitted on the next few laps, Tracy inherited the lead. But Bourdais and Servia were lapping almost a second faster than Tracy and slid into second and third, respectively even after their stop.
Servia made a mistake on lap 37 spinning and giving up third place to Wilson. Wilson caught Tracy and Bourdais and the three were almost eight seconds ahead of fourth place.
Wilson was flying and on lap 39 he got around Bourdais, who admittedly didn't need the position to clinch a championship. The No.9 was just 0.596 seconds behind Tracy and pressing the leader.
Tracy pitted on lap 40, for tires and fuel, probably his last stop of the day. He returned in fifth place, but the first driver who was done with pit road.
Wilson pitted from the lead with a 40-second lead on Tracy and thanks to some fast laps, came out 14 seconds ahead of him, still in second place. Bourdais still had one stop to make and a 31-second lead on Wilson. He got stuck behind Mario Dominguez on lap 47, how much of his lead would that cost him?
Finally on lap 48, Bourdais pulled down pit lane. After a perfect stop he came back onto the track still in first place with a 5.510 second lead on Wilson and 25.170 second on Tracy. From there it was just a matter of making no mistakes.
Bourdais didn't slip up and won for the seventh time this season. He clinched his fourth consecutive title as he heads to Formula One for 2008. Bruno Junqueira took the final podium position when Tracy ran out of fuel with one lap to go.
The final race of the 2007 season is set for Sunday, November 11th in Mexico City.
10/21 01:35:18 ET
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