Bourdais wins in Race 1 at Toronto, first since 2007
20 July 2014 – Sebastien Bourdais has won his first open wheel race since 2007, claiming victory in the first race of the IndyCar Toronto doubleheader this morning.
Capturing his 32nd career open wheel win, the triumph now moves him to seventh ahead of Dario Franchitti and Canadian Paul Tracy on the overall list. The four-time champion is now one behind defending series champion Scott Dixon for sixth.
The shortened race, which was originally scheduled for yesterday, oddly saw another red flag this morning after two on Saturday. This one came out shortly after the field went green after a rolling start when Luca Filippi got into the back of Simon Pagenaud, spinning the Frenchman and blocking the track. Pagenaud would fight back after pitting off-strategy to finish P4 ahead of Dixon and Graham Rahal (who had seen his fair share of contact throughout the day as well).
Bourdias still led the field from the green flag when the stoppage ended, immediately clearing Helio Castroneves and Ryan Hunter-Reay by several seconds. The next caution came out when Carlos Huertas got stuck in the tyre barriers after missing a turn.
At the same time, Luca Filippi, who had been running in the top five at the time, ran wide and broke his suspension after brushing the wall.
After the restart, Tony Kanaan fought with Ryan Hunter-Reay before the American looked on the outside of the Brazilian. A bit of a fade outward from Kanaan saw the two make contact with Hunter-Reay bouncing sideways into the wall, knocking him out of the race. Kanaan would make it to the podium in P3, just behind championship leader Helio Castroneves.
The largest story coming into the race was the controversial decisions made by IndyCar yesterday regarding championship contender Will Power. After spinning on the rainy pace laps before the first red flag, IndyCar allowed Team Penske to work on his car since the red flag came out before the race began. He was originally told he would start at the back of the pack, but after the race yesterday was called off, officials initially said the start order would be the same as was intended for yesterday.
After complaints and informal protests from the teams overnight, the decision was changed to force Power to start at the back for this morning's event. Still, he made his way through the field to finish in tenth.
Fellow championship contender Juan Pablo Montoya had a miserable morning, mired in several incidents before being lapped by Bourdais heading into the final lap.
The changes to the first race (which included shortening it from 85 to 65 laps and doing a rolling start instead of a standing start) were made yesterday evening along with similar changes to this afternoon's race (also 65 laps, but they will attempt a standing start). The order for this afternoon's race will be determined by entrant points, meaning that Bourdias will start from mid-pack.
The second race of the Toronto weekend will go green at 16:15 local time (GMT -4)