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Bourdais gets win and takes Champ Car points lead
Edmonton, AB Canada (Sports Network) - Sebastien Bourdais captured Sunday's Rexall Grand Prix Edmonton with relative ease. The three-time series champion crossed the finish line 3.947 seconds ahead of Justin Wilson.
The victory was Bourdais' fourth of the season and 27th of his Champ Car career.
"It's a great win and a great team effort," said Bourdais. "The car was spot on plus the great pit stops is what won us the race."
Bourdais got the jump on pole winner Will Power driving around the outside of turn one to grab the early race lead. The Frenchman knew what to do with the lead and quickly built a margin of more than one second.
Bourdais and Power remained one-two, but Bourdais was also gradually pulling away from Power and the margin was 2.672 seconds after 19 laps when a debris caution slowed the race and sent everyone down pit lane for the first round of pit stops.
Bourdais had a little trouble on the stop and both Power and Wilson beat the No.1 Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver back on track.
Power still had a lot of speed and with clean air out front he would be tough to get around. In just a couple of laps he led Wilson by 2.451 seconds and Bourdais by 4.160 seconds. Wilson fought back and after posting a fastest lap on lap 41 cut the lead to 1.060 seconds.
It was time for the second round of pit stops, but unlike the first time, these were made under green flag conditions. Power was the first of the leaders to stop, on lap 50, giving up the lead to Wilson. Wilson was next with Bourdais the last of the leaders to come in which meant he could put in an extra lap while light on fuel - usually a faster lap.
The strategy worked as Bourdais returned to the track ahead of both Wilson and Power. In fact, it worked so well that Bourdais' lead was more than three seconds.
Bourdais continued to expand on the lead over Wilson while Graham Rahal moved into third place around a slowing Power. Power's laps were almost two seconds slower than the Frenchman's and he fell more than 15 seconds off the pace.
On lap 62, Bourdais set a race lap record as his lead ballooned to 7.197 seconds. He did it again on the next lap as the margin was now more than eight seconds.
Power made an unscheduled stop on lap 65 and it appeared to be a steering problem causing his slow times. He would not leave his pit, he was done for the day.
All Bourdais' hard work went up in smoke when Alex Tagliani and points leader Robert Doornbos crashed on lap 69 in turn one. Doornbos managed to continue on, but Tagliani brought out the caution flag when he couldn't continue on.
The entire field hit pit road for their final stops of the day. Bourdais won the race back to the track and was closely followed by Wilson, Rahal and Simon Pagenaud.
On the restart with 21 minutes to go, Bourdais went about the business of rebuilding his lead. Two laps later it was 1.781 seconds. With 10 minutes remaining the gap was 4.065 seconds and it was just a matter of maintaining that lead to the checkered flag.
The top-four finished just as they had started the final stint - Bourdais, Wilson, Rahal and Pagenaud.
With the win and Doornbos' problems, Bourdais has grabbed the championship lead. The soon-to-be Formula One driver is 21 points ahead of Doornbos (195-174) and 27 ahead of Power.
The next race in the series is set for Sunday, July 29th on the streets of San Jose, California.
07/22 17:11:26 ET