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Archive for Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Bourdais claims first CART win

May 6, 2003

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— French rookie Sebastien Bourdais felt right at home on this track.

He captured the London Champ Car Trophy Monday for his first CART victory, stopping Paul Tracy's season-opening winning streak at three.

Bruno Junqueira was second for a 1-2 finish for Newman-Haas Racing, and Mario Dominguez was third. Tracy didn't finish, the back of his smoking car in flames.

"This is a European track, so me and some of the other guys are pretty used to that," Bourdais said after his first Champ Car victory in only four tries. "I won some of my first lower formula races in England, so I feel comfortable here."

Tracy was trying to become the first CART driver to win a season's first four events. Three have had winning streaks that long since CART began in 1979, but not to start a season: Cristiano da Matta (2002), Alex Zanardi (1998) and Al Unser Jr. (1990).

Tracy started from the pole but relinquished the lead to Bourdais with a slow pit stop after 55 laps. The Canadian went out after 118 of 165 laps because of gearbox problems.

"It's never good to lose points like this," Tracy said. "We lost the cushion we had."

Tracy maintained his standings leads -- 65 points to 54 for Junqueira.

Bourdais moved into sixth place with 27.

Bourdais completed won the 165-lap race -- CART's fourth in Europe since 2001 -- in 1 hour, 51 minutes. He averaged 105.412 mph.

Bourdais has two poles this season and led at times during the first three races.

He started second Monday before a sellout crowd of 40,000 at 1.192-mile Brands Hatch track outside London.

"It was difficult, but we made it," Bourdais said.

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