Bourdais wins rain-delayed race 1 in Toronto


The Sports Network

Toronto, ON ( - Sebastien Bourdais won an open-wheel race for the first time in nearly seven years by putting on a dominating performance in the first event of Sunday's IndyCar Series doubleheader on the streets of Toronto.

Race 1 in Toronto was scheduled for Saturday but persistent rain forced postponement until the following day. The event was trimmed from 85 laps to 65 as well.

Bourdais, who won the pole for race 1 on Saturday, led 58 of 65 laps around this 1.75-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit at Toronto's Exhibition Place. He only relinquished the top spot during a round of green-flag pit stops just past the halfway point. Bourdais crossed the finish line 3.34 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, Helio Castroneves, the current championship points leader.

It's the first time Bourdais has won an IndyCar-sanctioned race, which came in his 53rd start. The 35-year-old Frenchman had 31 career victories in Champ Car, with his most recent win occurring on Nov. 11, 2007 in Mexico City. He won four straight Champ Car titles from 2004-07.

"It just went perfect from green to checkered flag," Bourdais said. "We had a dominant performance from the [car]. We knew we had the pace after qualifying. But we didn't know how it was going to be on a really long run, with tire wear and everything. It was back to the old days of saving fuel and being smart. We made it stick today."

Bourdais started on the pole and won the 2004 Champ Car event in Toronto. Last year at this circuit, he finished second (race 1) and third (race 2) in the IndyCar weekend doubleheader, driving for Dragon Racing at the time. He drives the No. 11 car for KVSH Racing this season.

Bourdais became the ninth different winner in IndyCar this year. He also gave KVSH Racing its fourth win but first since the 2013 Indianapolis 500 when Tony Kanaan drove for the team.

"We had to fight and wait for it for a long time, but today was just kind of one of these days when the stars align," Bourdais said. "I guess I was not expecting it, because here I know how things can go. Last year, we were second and third. It's great to get this win."

Castroneves' second-place run compared to a ninth-place finish for Will Power allowed Castroneves to widen his lead from nine points to 28 over his Team Penske teammate. Power started from the rear of the 23-car field after he was involved in a crash during the pace laps on the rain-soaked track on Saturday. Power's team repaired the suspension damage on his car and returned him to the field during the second and final red-flag period. IndyCar officials called the race shortly after, delaying it until Sunday morning.

"You've got to capitalize on those opportunities, even if it's an odd- weekend," Castroneves said. "We've got to take advantage of it, and that's what we did."

Sunday's second race in Toronto is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. ET. The starting lineup for that 65-lap event was set by entrant points. Castroneves will roll off from the grid first, followed by Power. Race 2 will feature a standing start.

Kanaan, now driving for Chip Ganassi Racing, finished third for the second straight race. Simon Pagenaud placed fourth, while Kanaan's teammate, Scott Dixon, was fifth. In 2013, Dixon scored a weekend-sweep in Toronto, en route to his third IndyCar championship.

Pagenaud bounced back from a multi-car crash that occurred on the opening lap. The race was stopped for 17 minutes due to track cleanup efforts. Rookie Luca Filippi hit Pagenaud from behind and spun him around, causing a pileup. Takuma Sato had his race come to an end after making contact. Josef Newgarden, Mike Conway and rookie Carlos Munoz were also involved in the incident.

Pagenaud moved up to third in the point standings (-58), while Ryan Hunter- Reay, who won last weekend's race at Iowa Speedway, dropped to fourth in the rankings (-64) after his 21st-place finish. Hunter-Reay had been running second to Bourdais early in the race, but on lap 39, he made contact with the barrier when Kanaan bumped into him.

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