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Bourdais wins sixth race of the season
Zolder, Belgium (Sports Network) - Sebastien Bourdais won Sunday's inaugural Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium at the Zolder Circuit. The No.1 Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver crossed the finish line 13.655 seconds in front of Bruno Junqueira.
The victory was Bourdais' series-leading sixth of the season and 29th of his Champ Car career.
It was a clean start with Bourdais quickly building a 0.875-second lead on Robert Doornbos, who got around provisional pole winner Will Power. Doornbos put up a better second lap than Bourdais as the two point leaders prepared for a day-long duel.
Bourdais and Doornbos built their lead to more than four seconds on Power after just six laps. After 15 minutes and 11 laps, Bourdais held a 1.538- second lead on the Team Minardi car.
Bourdais' lead was 1.735 second on lap 16 when Champ Car officials brought out a caution flag to try and repair some curb damage in turn five. Bourdais was both the first car in and the first car out as every driver took the opportunity to pit during the caution period.
When the green flag dropped to restart the race, Bourdais again built his lead to more than one second. The lead was almost two seconds when Alex Figge got himself stuck in the turn one gravel trap to bring out another caution flag.
Through 30 laps and the top of the chart still showed Bourdais, Doornbos and Power. On lap 35 Bourdais was the first driver to crack the one minute, 15 second mark and it built his lead to more than 3.5 seconds over Doornbos.
Bourdais pitted on lap 40 with more than seven seconds in hand. A number of cars were on a different pit strategy, but when everyone cycled through Bourdais was back in the lead.
On lap 48 Mario Dominguez lost a wheel and the caution flag erased Bourdais' lead. Bourdais used the caution flag to make his final pit stop. He would probably have to conserve fuel, but he would be able to make it to the checkered flag without stopping again.
Simon Pagenaud and three others (Jan Heylen, Tristan Gommendy, Bruno Junqueira) inherited the lead with Bourdais coming out fifth.
Pagenaud finally pitted on lap 63 and Bourdais retook the lead. His only worry now was if he had enough fuel to reach the checkered flag. His lead over Junqueira was more than 12 seconds.
Bourdais cruised to the checkered flag and built his championship lead to 53 points over Doornbos, who finished seventh.
The next race in the series is set for next Sunday, September 2nd at Assen, Netherlands.
08/26 10:04:37 ET