SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Sebastien Bourdais drove an almost
perfect race on an imperfect track on Sunday, pulling away at the
end to win the San Jose Grand Prix.
"I think I was in the preferred position, but it was not an
easy day," said Bourdais, who started from the pole and led 63 of
the 93 laps on the way to a dominating victory.
The combination of a washboard-like track and looming concrete walls
on the narrow downtown street circuit took out half the 18-car
field during the 75-minute, timed race Sunday. But Bourdais, the
reigning Champ Car World Series champion, managed to avoid the
pitfalls and came away with his second win in a row and third of
"I have to attribute this one to the team," Bourdais said.
"The car stayed together all day. It was like a tank."
Paul Tracy, trailing Bourdais in the season standings, did
everything he could to catch the 26-year-old Frenchman, but he came
up 3.724-seconds -- nearly the entire pit straightaway -- short as
Bourdais seemed to speed up late in the 93-lap event.
"He only made one mistake in the hairpin and we weren't close
enough to take advantage," said Tracy, who slipped from 22 to 28
points behind Bourdais with six races to go in the championship
"I was just following Sebastien at the end," the 2003 series
champion added. "He got faster, so we just decided to follow him
home for second place."
Oriol Servia, Bourdais' Newman/Haas Racing teammate, was third,
followed by Justin Wilson, Mario Dominguez and rookies Timo Glock,
Ronnie Bremer and Bjorn Wirdheim, the only other drivers on the
Alex Tagliani, who lost three laps after bouncing off a wall
late in the race, was the only other driver running at the end.
Bourdais was in control throughout, although he didn't lead all
Bremer, who made a pit stop on the third lap after a collision
with Riccardo Sperafico, stayed on track when the leaders pitted on
lap 28 and led until he made his second stop on lap 48.
Bourdais went out front again at that point, but fell back to
second when he pitted again on lap 61 and Wirdheim stayed out and
grabbed the lead. But, after Wirdheim made his final stop on lap
72, Bourdais was out front for good.
The 1.448-mile circuit presented plenty of challenges, including
having to cross railroad tracks at two different places, nearly
launching the cars. A narrow left hand turn four also took its
toll, with at least five cars bouncing off the wall.
"The track is really challenging, definitely the roughest one
we've ever been on," Bourdais said. "The team had to rebuild the
car overnight to make sure everything held up, and they did a great
"I made very, very small mistakes, but not enough to open the
door for anybody. At the end, we pulled away. That was very nice."
The inaugural event, run on a sunny, warm Northern California afternoon, drew a sellout crowd of 62,371.