Bourdais wins Champ Car title again

October 23rd, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Bourdais wins Champ Car title again

Associated Press

SURFERS PARADISE, Australia - Sebastien Bourdais clinched his third straight Champ Car series title Sunday while his French countryman Nelson Philippe won the Indy 300 in another controversy-filled Australian race.
Bourdais secured the title when American A.J. Allmendinger, his closest pursuer for the season championship, crashed out on the 19th lap. Nine laps later, Bourdais was penalized by race officials for "avoidable contact" after colliding with pole sitter Will Power of Australia.
Power, among the leaders, stalled after the accident and fell back in the field, finishing 12th.
Bourdais served his drive-through penalty in the pits on lap 33 and finished eighth.
Philippe finished .728 seconds ahead of 2002 Australian winner Mario Dominguez of Mexico, followed by three Canadians - Alex Tagliani, Paul Tracy and Andrew Ranger.
The biggest - and potentially most dangerous - early incident occurred on the 14th lap in the pits when Tracy appeared to leave his area too soon and with fuel still being dumped into his car.
A fire started and several of his pit crew had flames around them before water was thrown on them to extinguish the fire.
Bourdais had a 58-point lead over second-place Allmendinger in the standings going into the Surfers Paradise race. The French driver needed to finish ninth or better, assuming that the American driver picked up the maximum number of points in Australia, including 31 for a win.
But Allmendinger's exit - hitting the wall on the 19th lap - gave the title to Bourdais with one race remaining in Mexico City on Nov. 12.
Ted Horn is the only other driver in the 97-year history of Champ Car racing to win three championships in a row, from 1946 to 1948.
The chance of a first-turn pileup on a notorious chicane was reduced when the race began under a caution after the starter deemed the 17-car field was not bunched close enough together.
When the field came around again, after completing the first lap, they were in a single-file formation instead of side by side, and all starters made it through the twisting first turn without incident.
More remarkably, the order of the field did not change through the first eight laps of a race that usually has plenty of early accidents. The first change happened on lap 9, when Allmendinger passed Oriol Servia and Katherine Legge overshot a turn from back of the field.
Legge, racing for the first time since surviving without injury a serious accident three weeks ago at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, hit the wall on her 43rd lap and did not finish the race.
Britain's Justin Wilson had to withdraw from the race on Friday after breaking his right wrist during a qualifying session accident.

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