TORONTO -- With rain pouring down and visibility near zero
when he got behind other cars, Will Power decided it was time to
The Australian drove from fourth to first in 14 laps, finally
splashing past rookie Ryan Dalziel to take the lead with 23 minutes
to go, and went on to an easy victory Sunday in the messy Steelback
Grand Prix of Toronto.
To get to the lead, Power also had to pass three-time Champ Car
World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais and rookie Neel Jani.
Thanks to a series of late caution flags, he was able to go after
each of them in turn.
"I was close behind Sebastien and I knew he was quite tentative
in the wet and I attacked him," Power said. "I got him on a
restart. Then the next restart, I got Neel and the next restart, I
got Dalziel. It's just about being aggressive at the right time and
not hitting anyone."
Once last year's top Champ Car rookie got to the front, he was
able to pull away, building leads up to five seconds before slowing
a bit at the end as he wrapped up his second career victory. The
win moved Power from third to second in season points, putting him
solidly in contention for the championship with Bourdais and rookie
"I just drove so hard here because we've just had so much bad
luck in the last few races," said Power, whose first Champ Car
victory came in the 2007 opener in Las Vegas. "I didn't care; I
just went hard. The car was good in the wet. It was good in the
dry, and we stuck it to them."
Bourdais started from the pole, lost the lead to Oriol Servia at
the start and never gained control of the race. The Frenchman was
running fourth late in the timed 1-hour, 45-minute race when
Doornbos skidded on the wet track, banged into the rear of Bourdais
and sent him backward into a tire wall, ending his day.
Bourdais wound up ninth and Doornbos, who killed his engine at
the start and began the race last, finished sixth, taking the
series lead heading to Edmonton, Alberta, in two weeks. The Dutch
driver has 164 points to 162 for Power and 161 for Bourdais, who
went into the race with a two-point edge on Doornbos.
Doornbos was driving under a cloud after being accused last week
of illegal blocking as he held off Bourdais to gain his first Champ
Car win in Mont-Tremblant near Montreal. But Bourdais didn't appear
upset at the Dutchman this time.
"It looked like we had a target on the rear wing of our car,"
said Bourdais, who was clipped earlier in the 73-lap race by Justin
Wilson and rookie teammate Graham Rahal. "It's really a shame.
When the rain came out, I wasn't quite willing to risk it all and
Justin passed me and Will passed me. Then Robert made a small
mistake and big consequences. I know he probably didn't do it on
purpose, but it's a shame for the championship."
Jani finished a career-best second, although he was nearly three
seconds -- half the front straightaway -- behind the winner. Wilson
wound up third, followed by rookie Simon Pagenaud, who got hit and
lost his front wing on the opening lap, and Bruno Junqueira.
It rained hard in the morning, but the race began on a drying
track with all drivers using slick tires. Rain began again about
halfway through, and most drivers pitted quickly for rain tires.
The rest of the race was run in the rain, with rooster tails of
water coming off the cars.
Only eight of the 17 starters were running at the finish,
although not necessarily because of the wet conditions.
The race got off to a wild start, with two crashes on the
First, Pagenaud got hit from behind by Alex Tagliani and lost
his wing. Two-time Toronto winner and local favorite Paul Tracy
then collected the wing, sitting in the middle of the track, and
pushed it through several turns before finally running over it and
skidding into the wall.
Cars scattered trying to get by Tracy and the debris from his
wreck. Rookie Tristan Gommendy soared high into the air and landed
on his wheels after he ran over the rear of Jan Heylen's car.
Meanwhile, Katherine Legge slid into the rear of Tracy and rookie
Alex Figge hit her car. Rahal also slid through the debris, bounced
off the wall and continued.
Servia, who led until he pitted on lap 34, was never able to get
back in front. He wound up 10th, spinning and hitting a wall on lap
57 with about 25 minutes remaining.