Doornbos prevails in rainy Quebec
Mont-Tremblant, QC (Sports Network) - Rookie Robert Doornbos survived the slick conditions to capture Sunday's Champ Car Mont-Tremblant race. The No.14 Minardi Team USA driver crossed the finish line 2.888 seconds ahead of Sebastien Bourdais.
The victory was the first of Doornbos' Champ Car career.
The race was a wild one, to say the least. The "fun" started before the race even got underway.
Tristan Gommendy's provisional pole win on Friday held up to give him his first career Champ Car pole win. The best finish for the Frenchman this season prior to the race was fifth, at the Vegas Grand Prix. It finally looked like Gommendy was turning things around with his pole win.
The race was minutes away from beginning as the pace car pulled off pit road for the start of the pace laps.
But wait, where was Gommendy?
The Frenchman was on pit road in disbelief because his engine didn't fire. His crew fixed the electrical problems, but it was well after the green flag dropped. He would finish the race in the 12th spot as his disappointing season continued.
Electrical problems plagued other drivers early as well.
With Gommendy still on pit road, Will Power now found himself in the top spot and leading the 17-car field to the green flag.
As soon the green flag dropped Power's car stalled. More problems occurred for Team Australia when Power's teammate Simon Pagenaud also stalled. Jan Heylen was the third car that stalled his car during the start of the race. These incidents brought out the first caution flag of the afternoon.
When everything finally settled down and the race went back to green, Bourdais was leading Doornbos, Justin Wilson, Neel Jani and Dan Clarke.
The three-time defending series champion, Bourdais, quickly opened up a gap of three seconds. He continued to increase that margin.
The first round of pit stops for the leaders begun on lap 20 when Wilson and Graham Rahal came down pit road. A light rain started to fall when Bourdais came into the pits for his stop on lap 22. The drivers decided not to put on rain tires under this cycle of green flag stops. When the stops were complete the top-five remained unchanged.
The rain started to become a factor on lap 26. The wet conditions contributed to Jan Heylen's crash in turn 10 to bring out the second caution flag.
As the rain picked up Bourdais led the field around the 2.621-mile circuit under the caution period. Being in the first spot proved to be a bad thing though.
On lap 29 Bourdais' car went off the track in turn 14 due to the slick conditions. He dropped back to the 11th place. He would pit two laps later to top off on fuel.
When the race got back underway on lap 31 Doornbos was the new leader. Wilson followed behind in the second spot. Clarke, Jani and Rahal completed the top- five.
Doornbos hit a wet spot on the track and went spinning. Despite the near mistake he held onto the lead.
Meanwhile, Clarke had problems with his motor on lap 36 causing him to bring his car down pit road for service. He was running in the third spot before the problem.
During the same lap the caution flag flew for Alex Figge. Under the caution period some of the leaders took pit stops. Rahal, Power and Bourdais along with some other drivers didn't take pit stops.
After the pit stops the top-three was occupied by Rahal, Power and Bourdais. Wilson was the winner off pit road but he found himself in seventh.
On lap 39 the race went back to green. It was obvious that Wilson was on a mission after a great restart. He moved his way to fifth and was pushing for more. During lap 43 Wilson went from fifth to second on the same lap.
The rain was now falling at a heavy pace as Rahal led the field down pit road for rain tires. The leader had problems in the pits though. He stalled his car and when his crew finally got him back on the track he was in 10th.
When the race got back underway on lap 47 Wilson led Pagenaud, Jani, Doornbos and Bourdais.
On lap 49 it proved to be a disaster to be leading the race again. Wilson's car went off course allowing five of his competitors to pass him.
Pagenaud showed the way now after Wilson's mistake. The battle behind him started to heat up. Jani lost two spots when Doornbos and Bourdais passed him for second and third, respectively.
Would bad luck continue for the race leader?
On lap 54 that question was answered. As the No.15 Team Australia driver led the field into turn 14 the slick conditions caused him to go off the track. He would re-enter in the third place.
As the race neared its end Doornbos led Bourdais, Pagenaud, Power and Jani. With 10 minutes left in the race, lap 55, the last caution flag came out.
The race went back to green with seven minutes remaining.
Doornbos was able to pull away and extend his margin to 1.5 seconds. Bourdais was never able to put a run together as Doornbos crossed the finish line unchallenged.
Power, Pagenaud and Wilson completed the top-five.
The next race in the series is set for Sunday, July 8th at Exhibition Place.
07/01 17:21:33 ET