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Bourdais ends Champ Car career with another win
Mexico City, Mexico (Sports Network) - Sebastien Bourdais ended his Champ Car career in grand style winning Sunday's Gran Premio Tecate Champ Car season finale at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. The No.1 Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver crossed the finish line 1.905 seconds ahead of Will Power.
The victory was Bourdais' eighth of the season and 31st of his Champ Car career. In 73 starts, the Frenchman earned an amazing 28 poles, 31 wins (42.45%) and 44 podiums. He was even better in 2007 winning eight of 14 events (57.14%). Bourdais' numbers dwarf those of the all-time series greats A.J. Foyt (67 wins in 369 starts = 18.16%), Mario Andretti (52 wins, 12.77%), Michael Andretti (42 wins, 13.59%) and Al Unser 39 wins, 12.62%).
Pole winner Power led the field off the grid, but three cars stalled on grid - Oriol Servia, Alex Tagliani and Nelson Philippe, forcing a reorder of the field.
When the green flag dropped to restart the race, Power and Bourdais led the way through the first handful of laps, but Robert Doornbos, fighting for second-place overall had turned down pit lane with a clutch failure. That gave Justin Wilson a huge leg up as he inherited third place after Doornbos' problem.
After a dozen laps, Power had pulled out to a 1.555-second lead on the four- time series champion, who was running with a 22-second "power-to-pass" deficit due to a pre-race penalty.
Power was keeping the gap over Bourdais at about one and-a-half seconds as the pair pulled away from the third-place car. It appeared that this would be a two-man race.
By lap 24 Bourdais had cut the margin to just a couple of lengths and used some of his valuable "power-to-pass" to grab the lead. And it seemed that he was now faster than Power opening up a solid lead before pitting on lap 25. Power pitted with Bourdais, no problems for either driver, and they returned to the track in the same running order.
With an hour to go, Bourdais ran his lead out to almost three seconds on Power and over 10 seconds on the third-place vehicle - Graham Rahal. Through 35 laps and Bourdais expanded the margin to 4.527 seconds over Power. With 30 minutes remaining the gap between first and second had grown to 12.702 seconds.
On lap 48 Bourdais came in for the final time, a 9.9-second stop with no errors, and he was away with his big lead still intact.
There were just 18 minutes remaining, Bourdais lead was double digits and he was set to cruise to the win, but a caution flag short-circuited the idea. Now Bourdais had to fight off Power over the final laps.
But fight him off he did. Despite the horsepower disadvantage Bourdais built the lead to 1.599 second with four minutes to go. He maintained it over the final three laps to win by almost two seconds.
It will be interesting to see how the four-time Champ Car Series winner does next year in Formula One.
11/11 16:07:30 ET
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