Tue, Jul 13, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Sebastien Bourdais outruns trouble in Toronto Molson Indy

AP , TORONTO

Sebastien Bourdais avoided trouble in a chaotic race and picked up a victory on Sunday in the Toronto Molson Indy, his third Champ Car win in a row.

The 25-year-old Frenchman started from the pole and was virtually assured of his fourth win of the season and taking over the season point lead from Bruno Junqueira when his Newman/Haas Racing teammate crashed on the first turn of the race.

Bourdais was totally in charge throughout the caution-filled race that was ended at just 84 laps -- 11 laps early -- because of a 1-hour and 45-minute time limit.

After the race, Bourdais looked somewhat surprised as runner-up Jimmy Vasser and third-place finisher Patrick Carpentier talked about the wild race that included seven caution flags and plenty of collisions and near misses.

"About the only I can say is I'm glad I was out front because it looks like it was real crazy out there," Bourdais said. "Apparently, I missed a lot of it. I just tried to keep my nose clean and stay focused out there."

Bourdais' seventh career victory and fourth in the last five races moved the second-year Champ Car driver to a 28-point (164-136) lead over Junqueira after six of 15 events. Carpentier is third with 129 points and Paul Tracy fourth with 108.

Vasser, who also managed to avoid trouble throughout the 84-lap race on the 2.82km, 10-turn street course, got one last shot at the leader on a restart two laps from the end. But the former series champion came up 1.396 seconds -- about 20 car-lengths -- short.

"For sure, I was trying to stay with him in case he made a mistake," said Vasser, who got his first podium finish since becoming an owner-driver at the start of the season. "But there was no grip out there and I was just trying to save myself and not do anything stupid."

Mario Haberfeld finished fourth, followed by hometown favorite Tracy, rookie Gaston Mazzacane and Alex Tagliani.

Defending series champion Tracy and nemesis Tagliani, whom Tracy has blamed for putting him far behind in this year's points race, stayed away from each other on Sunday, but each was penalized twice for running into other cars.

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