Bourdais takes German 500 for second straight winPosted: Sunday May 11, 2003 11:07 AM
The French CART rookie won his second straight Champ Car race Sunday, holding off Mario Dominguez to capture the German 500.
Dominguez was unable to find a way around Bourdais on the 154th and final lap. They drove side by side through the final two turns, with Bourdais on the inside. Michel Jourdain Jr. finished third before a crowd of 68,000 at the EuroSpeedway oval.
Bourdais, driving a Newman-Haas car, started from the pole for the third time in five races. He won last Monday on the road course at England's Brands Hatch, his first victory in Champ Cars.
Dominguez, of Herdez Competition, was 0.084 seconds behind for the Mexican's best finish since winning his first CART race last October. He led on the 152nd and 153rd laps but could not hold it. Bourdais passed him each time to hold a narrow lead for the final lap on the 2.023-mile oval.
A five-second penalty for blocking Bourdais midway through the race cost Dominguez. He took the penalty at a subsequent pit stop.
"We had a great race with Mario," Bourdais said. "We had a little struggle when he didn't see me and we went across the grass."
Dominguez was upset with CART officials for making the call.
"As far as I'm concerned I didn't do anything wrong," he said. "When I was behind Sebastien he was doing exactly the same thing I was doing.
"I think I definitely got penalized wrongly. I want to see the videos."
CART officials defended the call.
Despite the penalty, Dominguez was content with second after picking up his first CART win last year. But he regretted showing Bourdais a few tricks -- like passing on the inside.
"It was wrong to show Sebastien the way around at the beginning," Dominguez said. "He learned very well, very quickly and started covering the inside. He's a quick learner, we've all seen that."
Jourdain, of Team Rahal, was 0.245 behind the winner. Brazil's Bruno Junqueira was fourth, followed by Spain's Oriol Servia and England's Darren Manning.
Canada's Paul Tracy finished 13th and picked up a point to maintain the overall lead with 66 points. Junqueira also has 66 but Tracy leads because he has won three races this season.
Jourdain stayed in third with 56 points and Bourdais moved into fourth with 49. Dominguez has 40 points in fifth.
Bourdais joined Newman-Haas late after tryouts fell through to join Formula One teams Arrows and Renault. He had only 1 1/2 days of practice on an oval before racing in Germany.
"I don't think I have any secrets. I had everything to learn because I've never raced on an oval," Bourdais said. "But I was always confident I would get good results."
Alex Zanardi made a ceremonial ride at the track where he lost his legs. He reached 195 mph and pitted after 13 laps, the number he needed to complete the September 2001 race before his gruesome crash.
"In the past year and a half I never got close to a racing car," he said. "It was great again to feel the speed, to feel the lateral force. It was just awesome. I felt in total control of what I was doing."