- 2007 Belgian Champ Car Grand Prix
2007 Belgian Champ Car Grand Prix Race details Race 11 of 14 in the 2007 Champ Car season
Zolder Track Layout
Date August 26, 2007 Official name Belgian Champ Car Grand Prix Location Circuit Zolder, Heusden-Zolder, Belgium Course Permanent Road Course
2.492 mi / 4.010 km
Distance 71 laps, 176.932 mi / 284.744 km Weather Cloudy Pole Driver Sébastien Bourdais N/H/L Racing Time 1:12.821 Fastest Lap Driver Sébastien Bourdais N/H/L Racing Time 1:14.089 (on lap 39 of 71) Podium First Sébastien Bourdais N/H/L Racing Second Bruno Junqueira Dale Coyne Racing Third Graham Rahal N/H/L Racing
The 2007 Belgian Champ Car Grand Prix was the eleventh round of the 2007 Champ Car World Series Season. It was held on August 26 at Circuit Zolder in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium. The race was won by Sébastien Bourdais and was his sixth victory of the season.
The race was part of a short tour through Europe, with the race at TT Circuit Assen in The Netherlands one week later. It was the series' first and last ever race in Belgium. On January 16, 2007, the Champ Car World Series announced a multi-year agreement that would see the return of Champ Cars to Europe for the first time since 2003 with inaugural races in Holland and Belgium. It was the first time that Champ Car has raced in either of the two European nations. "We are excited to bring the American equivalent of Formula 1 racing to Europe," said event promoter Bart Rietbergen. "Champ Car provides close racing that is easy for European fans to understand, and they will be very impressed with the access that they will have in the Champ Car paddock."
Conquest Racing driver Jan Heylen found himself in a home race on the circuit that lies just 30 km (19 mi) from Geel, the place where he was born. Next to Heylen, Robert Doornbos also had many fans as the track lies close to his native country, the Netherlands.
Pos Nat Name Team Qual 1 Qual 2 Best 1 Sébastien Bourdais N/H/L Racing 1:14.023 1:12.821 1:12.821 2 Will Power Team Australia 1:13.810 1:13.194 1:13.194 3 Robert Doornbos Minardi Team USA no time 1:13.067 1:13.067 4 Bruno Junqueira Dale Coyne Racing 1:14.433 1:13.313 1:13.313 5 Justin Wilson RSPORTS 1:15.041 1:13.327 1:13.327 6 Alex Tagliani RSPORTS 1:14.960 1:13.384 1:13.384 7 Paul Tracy Forsythe Racing 1:14.829 1:13.407 1:13.407 8 Simon Pagenaud Team Australia 1:14.030 1:13.436 1:13.436 9 Neel Jani PKV Racing 1:14.823 1:13.555 1:13.436 10 Oriol Servià Forsythe Racing 1:14.812 1:13.720 1:13.720 11 Jan Heylen Conquest Racing no time 1:13.768 1:13.768 12 Mario Domínguez Minardi Team USA - 1:13.810 1:13.810 13 Graham Rahal N/H/L Racing 1:14.224 1:13.822 1:13.822 14 Katherine Legge Dale Coyne Racing 1:15.603 1:13.987 1:13.987 15 Tristan Gommendy PKV Racing 1:14.590 1:13.995 1:13.995 16 Ryan Dalziel Pacific Coast Motorsports 1:15.498 1:14.002 1:14.002 17 Alex Figge Pacific Coast Motorsports 1:15.934 1:14.744 1:14.744
Team Minardi USA driver Dan Clarke was suspended by Champ Car race director Tony Cotman for reckless driving and avoidable contact at the start of Friday's first free practice session and thus did not participate for the remainder of the weekend. Clarke had been placed on probation after an incident with Justin Wilson at the San Jose Grand Prix. Caught up in the incident were Wilson and Belgian driver Jan Heylen. Severe damage to Heylen's car prevented him from taking part in Friday's qualifying session. Mario Domínguez replaced Clarke starting on Saturday, stepping into his fourth team for the year. Clarke's suspension would be reevaluated before the next week's Grand Prix of Holland. Clarke's Team Minardi teammate Robert Doornbos was also unable to take part in Friday's session after blowing an engine at the end of the practice session immediately prior to qualifying.
Sébastien Bourdais was quickest on Saturday to win his fourth pole position of the season. It was also the fourth time Bourdais and Friday's fastest driver, Will Power, shared the front row. Doornbos recovered from his engine troubles on Friday to finish second fastest in the session, but started on the second row. Next to him was Dale Coyne Racing's Bruno Junqueira, who gave the long-struggling team its highest grid position since the 1999 Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Pos Nat Name Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Points 1 Sébastien Bourdais N/H/L Racing 71 1:45:21.997 1 33 2 Bruno Junqueira Dale Coyne Racing 71 +13.7 secs 4 27 3 Graham Rahal N/H/L Racing 71 +14.5 secs 13 26 4 Will Power Team Australia 71 +15.1 secs 2 24 5 Justin Wilson RSPORTS 71 +16.0 secs 5 21 6 Oriol Servià Forsythe Racing 71 +17.2 secs 10 19 7 Robert Doornbos Minardi Team USA 71 +18.4 secs 3 17 8 Neel Jani PKV Racing 71 +19.1 secs 9 15 9 Alex Tagliani RSPORTS 71 +23.8 secs 6 13 10 Paul Tracy Forsythe Racing 71 +24.5 secs 7 11 11 Katherine Legge Dale Coyne Racing 71 +28.8 secs 14 10 12 Simon Pagenaud Team Australia 71 +33.2 secs 8 9 13 Jan Heylen Conquest Racing 71 +1:12.1 11 8 14 Alex Figge Pacific Coast Motorsports 70 + 1 Lap 17 7 15 Ryan Dalziel Pacific Coast Motorsports 67 + 4 Laps 16 6 16 Tristan Gommendy PKV Racing 60 Mechanical 15 5 17 Mario Domínguez Minardi Team USA 47 Tyre 12 4
What began as another Sébastien Bourdais walkover took an interesting turn in the last thirty laps. Bourdais led away from the starting grid and held the lead until his second pit stop lap 40. On that lap, Bourdais lost the lead to a pack of alternate strategy cars who had pitted for the second time during a caution period on lap 27. Included in this pack were his teammate Graham Rahal who took the lead until he ducked into the pits on lap 47, relinquishing the lead to Bourdais.
Things got "really interesting" on lap 50 when a caution came out. Most drivers pitted a final pitstop but four drivers stayed out: Bruno Junqueira, Simon Pagenaud, local driver Jan Heylen, and Tristan Gommendy. Of the four drivers, Junqueira's gambit was the most dangerous to Bourdais, as he had stopped on lap 49. The other drivers only real hope for success was a lot of full course caution laps.
When the green flag came out again, the order was Pagenaud, Heylen, Gommendy, Junqueira, and Bourdais. After two hard fought laps, Junqueira gave up fourth place to Bourdais. Five laps later Gommendy gave up third spot shortly before pitting and then retiring with an oil leak.
Heylen gave up his gambit on lap 59 and while Pagenaud gamely hung on to the lead until lap 63, he never had any reasonable chance to make the end of the race. With that stop, Bourdais re-inherited the lead, while behind him Junqueira gamely clung to second place while saving fuel at the same time. Rahal did not have fuel concerns but was not able to find his way around the veteran driver.
That was the way the race ended, with Bourdais in front by more than 13 seconds. Junqueira's 2nd place was a historic achievement for the Dale Coyne Racing team, its best ever finish. Rahal settled for the fourth podium finish of his rookie season. Bourdais leads the season championship by 53 points over Robert Doornbos. Not an insurmountable lead, but one that leaves his challengers little hope of preventing the capture of his fourth straight Champ Car title.
Laps Cause 16-19 Track damage repair 26-28 Figge (29) off course 49-52 Domínguez (4) lost wheel
Laps Leader 1-40 Sébastien Bourdais 41-47 Graham Rahal 48-50 Sébastien Bourdais 51-63 Simon Pagenaud 64-71 Sébastien Bourdais Driver Laps led Sébastien Bourdais 51 Simon Pagenaud 13 Graham Rahal 7
- New Race Record Sébastien Bourdais : 1:45:21.997
- Average Speed 100.752 mph
Attendance for the weekend at Zolder was 40,000 spectators, with 25,000 attending on race day, which was in line with the organizers expectations. Additionally that was the amount of fans they needed to attend to break even financially.
- ^ "Belgian Champ Car Grand Prix". Champ Car Stats. http://www.champcarstats.com/races/200711.htm. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
- ^ "Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium". Ultimate Racing History. http://www.ultimateracinghistory.com/race.php?raceid=5843. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
- ^ "Le ChampCar à Zolder: "Un bilan satisfaisant..."" (in French). La Dernière Heure. 27 August 2007. http://www.dhnet.be/sports/moteurs/article/182089/le-champcar-a-zolder-un-bilan-satisfaisant.html. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
- ^ "Belgian Grand Prix promoter blames high ticket prices for empty seats". CBSSports.com. 29 August 2007. http://www.cbssports.com/autoracing/story/10322531/rss. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
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