CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES Grand Prix of TorontoFinal
Power wins Champ Car Toronto race; Doornbos takes points leadJul 9, 2007 - 12:06 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Sebastien Bourdais and Robert Doornbos clearly were bothered by some nasty weather. It was a different story for Will Power.
Power coasted effortlessly at times through the rain-soaked street course at Exhibition Place to win Sunday's Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto.
It was the second victory this season and second career for Power, who averaged 72.534 miles per hour and won $75,000. The second-year Australian driver captured his first career win in the 2007 season opener at Las Vegas.
"It was an interesting race," Power said. "It was great that it rained, but also in the dry we went a lap longer than everyone. We were looking good then. We were looking good either way."
The 26-year-old Power started from the seventh position and climbed to fourth by lap 44 before making his move, gaining four places over the next 14 laps and claiming the lead for good from rookie Ryan Dalziel on lap 57.
Dalziel took the lead 15 laps earlier thanks to a bit of foresight from his crew at Pacific Coast Motorsports. The Scottish rookie already had wet tires on his car and therefore took the lead by default when the rest of the field pitted to switch.
But Dalziel's day would end in drenched disappointment, as Power splashed the rookie by passing him off a restart. It was one of several positions gained by Power as a result of restarts.
"When I was sitting behind Sebastien, I knew he was kind tentative in the wet and I attacked it," Power said. "The first corner got him. The next restart, I think I got Neel (rookie Neel Jani). Next restart, I got Ryan. It's just about being aggressive at the right time without hitting anyone."
Power started Sunday's 73-lap event third in the standings but gained significant ground on Bourdais and Doornbos, who crossed paths for the second consecutive weekend.
The reigning three-time series champion, Bourdais publicly criticized Doorbos after the Dutch rookie blocked his passing efforts en route to winning last week at Mont-Tremblant.
The war of words spilled over onto the track Sunday, as Bourdais lost the lead from the pole to Spain's Oriol Servia at the very start of the race. His misfortune-filled day ended on lap 68 when Doornbos spun out and drove him into a tire wall, knocking the Frenchman out of the race.
"I was chasing Sebastien and I could see that he was struggling a bit," Doornbos said. "I got on the brakes at the same place as always, but I ran up on him and lost the down force on my car and turned him around.
"It was a racing incident, it was very tricky conditions out there and it could have happened to anybody."
Bourdais was much more forgiving of Doornbos this time around.
"I could see in his eyes that he was sorry and he apologized after the race," Bourdais said. "I didn't see anything; he just T-boned me and was able to continue, which gained him another six or so points which was enough to take over the (standings) lead."
Both drivers visibly struggled with the torrential rainfall throughout the day, with Doornbos finishing sixth and Bourdais ninth. Doornbos has 164 total points and owns a slim lead in the standings, two points ahead of Power and three ahead of Bourdais.
"It was a fairly messy race," Doornbos said. "We needed to get as many points as possible this weekend, and we made do with what we could."
"We weren't going to have the greatest finish," Bourdais admitted. "But it was a decent finish and would have kept us in the lead and got us more points than we ended up with."
While Doornbos and Bourdais lamented what might have been, Power was thrilled to nudge his way back into the championship race.
"This is exactly what we needed points-wise, and also for Sebastien not to finish, that really helps us in the championship," Power said. "We've got some pretty strong tracks coming up."
Jani finished second while Britain's Justin Wilson ran third. French rookie Simon Pagenaud - Power's teammate at Team Australia - placed fourth while Brazilian Bruno Junqueira rounded out the top five.
With their stellar 1-3 finish Sunday, Power and Pagenaud took a commanding lead in the Canadian Triple Crown, which ends with the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton on July 22. Power finished third last week at Mont-Tremblant while Pagenaud ran fourth.
"I'm stoked to be leading the Triple Crown," Power said. "Today proved once again that anything can happen in a Champ Car race, but hopefully we can finish it off in Edmonton with both of us on the podium 1-2. That would be perfect."
Sunday's race at the 1.755-mile temporary street course featured seven lead changes among seven drivers and included seven cautions totaling 29 laps.
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