Champ Car Toronto: Title leaders clash as Power wins

Championship leaders Sebastien Bourdais and Robert Doornbos clashed once again on the streets of Toronto – but this time with even more dramatic results than their run-in at Mont Tremblant.

Doornbos thumped Bourdais into the barriers late in the race but escaped to score vital championship points.

Will Power won another incident packed wet and dry race to emphasise his credentials as a championship contender.

Oriol Servia made the best start to take the lead from third. But championship contender Robert Doornbos stalled at the start of the race, but was able to get going again after receiving a push.

Further on a bigger incident caused a safety car period and took Alex Figge, Katherine Legge, Paul Tracy, Tristan Gommendy and Jan Heylen. Ironically the chaos that depleted the field to 12 cars was triggered by Simon Pagenaud, who escaped with only a broken front wing.

The race resumed on lap eight and Neel Jani overtook Will Power on a blast of Push to Pass.

Lap 14 brought another safety car period to retrieve debris at turn three. Alex Tagliani, Robert Doornbos and Graham Rahal took the opportunity to make a quick pit stop.

As the race restarted on lap 16 Power took fourth place from Bruno Junqueira. But when Justin Wilson tried to pass Bourdais for second the two made contact and the British driver spun. Wilson fell to 12th.

Dan Clarke had moved up to fourth, but race control adjudged that he had passed Junqueira under a yellow flag. He was ordered to let the Brazilian past but Neel Jani used the opportunity to get ahead of Clarke as well.

The leaders began making their pit stops on lap 35 – Wilson first, then Servia, Bourdais, Junqueira, Clarke and Power.

But the pit stops were interrupted as rain began to fall and Alex Tagliani crashed at turn three. The concrete strip on the inside had turned slick with the rainfall and it also caught out Servia as he came past.

This began what would become a snowballing series of safety car periods followed by a few laps of racing action.

Clarke stayed on dry weather tyres as the rest of the field switched to grooved rubber. But when the race resumed on lap 44 he lost position after position and finally smacked the wall hard – causing another yellow flag period.

After another flurry of pit activity Ryan Dalziel took over the lead of the race.

Lap 48 saw the resumption of racing again but Graham Rahal caused another safety car period. Trying to pass Bourdais on lap 51 he clipped his team mate and then the tyre wall at turn three, pitting for a new nose. But he had also bent his suspension and spun into the wall shortly after having the wing assembly replaced.

Racing began again on lap 56 for two laps until Servia crashed. But in the brief interval Power found a way past Dalziel into the lead.

Dalziel was also passed by Jani after the race went green again on lap 57, and Wilson passed Bourdais for fourth.

Doornbos was now chasing Bourdais but on lap 68 the Dutchman took the Frenchman clean out of the race – out-braking himself into turn three and dumping his principal rival into the barriers. A clearly furious Bourdais was out – but Doornbos was able to limp on.

That would be the final safety car period with the final three laps seeing clear running. This was despite Wilson knocking Dalziel into the barriers as he took third place off him. Wilson pushed Jani hard for second on the final lap – and the Swiss’s driving looked rather too defensive to be legal.

But Power looked every bit as calm and composed on the tricky damp street circuit as he had in similar conditions at Mont Tremblant last week. He snatched the win ahead of Jani, who had Wilson right behind him at the line.

Champ Car moves on to its third consecutive Canadian round at Edmonton in two weeks’ time.

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