ASSEN - Bavaria Champ Car Grand-Prix - TIP Sheet

ASSEN - Bavaria Champ Car Grand-Prix - TIP Sheet

29.08.2007: ASSEN - Bavaria Champ Car Grand-Prix - TIP Sheet

European Perfection – So far in Champ Car competition three-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais has yet to leave a European track without a first place trophy in his hands. In Zolder the Frenchman showed that he was the driver to beat as he led final qualifying to take the pole, led 51 laps during the event and won by a margin of 13.655 seconds, which is the largest margin of victory in a European Champ Car race in the modern era.

Doornbos the Dutchman – After growing up in Rotterdam, Robert Doornbos will be returning home to the Netherlands this weekend to run for the first time in a Champ Car in front of his home crowd. During 2007, the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year leader has put quite a season together with two wins in Mont-Tremblant and San Jose, and six podium finishes. Last weekend in Zolder, luck was not on Doornbos’s side as he started third and finished in the seventh position, recording his eighth top ten finish of the season.

Flipping a Coyne – In Zolder Dale Coyne Racing and Bruno Junqueira gambled with fuel strategy and landed heads up at the end of the event, in the tracks of his former teammate Sebastien Bourdais. As a result Junqueira gave the team its best finish in its twenty three year history, with a second place run in Belgium. Previously the best performance for the team was a third place finish in 2004 at Laguna Seca with driver Oriol Servia.

Rahal the Rookie – Graham Rahal seems to be hitting his stride in the 2007 Champ Car season. In his last four starts he has improved at each weekend, posting two consecutive podium bids in both Road America and Zolder. After a disappointing qualifying session last weekend, where he posted the 13th best time at the Belgium track, the rookie used a little strategy to put himself in contention for the win. As a result, Rahal led seven orbits around the course and picked up a point for improving the most positions during the race, moving up 10 positions to third.

Taking a drink from the European Cup - Sebastien Bourdais and Graham Rahal of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) snagged the lead in the Phanos Champ Car European Team Cup competition by scoring a double podium finish with a win by Bourdais and third place by Rahal in Zolder. The NHLR duo are currently 9.5 points ahead of the Aussie Vineyards drivers Will Power and Simon Pagenaud, who won the Canadian Triple Crown earlier this season.

Making History in Holland – This weekend Champ Car will be racing for the first time in series history in The Netherlands. The Assen course is no stranger to international events as it hosts world class motorcycle races including Moto GP and World Surperbikes. The 14-turn track was redesigned in 2006, so that it would be possible to attract a variety of events to the circuit, including Champ Car.

Wilson in Waiting – Justin Wilson may still be waiting to record his first win of 2007, but that does not mean he hasn’t made strides throughout the season. After the first few races in 2007 the Brit found himself as far back as 14th in the standings and trailed by as many as 44 points. But the veteran has found the setup to charge back into the championship hunt. On the strength of six top five finishes, three of which were on the podium, he has put himself just nine points out of third position and 19 out of second in the point standings.

Powering on – In Zolder, Will Power made a small step towards getting back into the championship battle as he was able to close within nine points of catching second place. Power had a good start to his weekend in Belgium as he won the provisional pole in Friday Qualifying ensuring him a front row starting spot for the main event. During the race Power held strong recording his seventh top-four finish of the season.

Clarke speeds out of the penalty box – After being banned from competition in Zolder, Dan Clarke is looking to make a comeback in front of his fellow Europeans in Assen. In the first practice session for the Zolder event, the Brit triggered a four car incident on the installation lap while being on probation, causing Champ Car officials to throw the red flag on his weekend. In his last Champ Car race in Road America Clarke recorded his best finish in Champ Car, second place.

Jani has Plenty of Tens –With an eighth place finish in Zolder Champ Car rookie Neel Jani continues to be one of the most consistent rookies in the series. So far this season the Swiss driver has three podium finishes and has only finished outside of the top ten twice this season. Currently Jani has a streak of eight top-ten finishes going which dates back to Portland. This is the longest stretch for any rookie driver this season.

Lucky to be unlucky? - The way things are shaping up during the 2007 Champ Car World Series season, it is almost lucky to have bad luck hit on during the opening laps of the race. Twice this season the eventual winner of the race suffered minor contact in the opening laps, in both cases damaging the front nose wing of the car dropping the driver to the end of the field and forcing them to pit, before fighting their way up through the field to victory (Paul Tracy in Cleveland and Robert Doornbos in San Jose).

Frenchman goes for four - Sebastien Bourdais has the rare opportunity to win four consecutive championships this year if he can again capture the Vanderbilt Cup, which would extend the title skein he began in 2004. Currently, he leads the point standings by 53 markers. Bourdais would make history as no Champ Car driver has ever won four straight championships. Four in a row is very rare in professional sports in fact it has never been done in either NASCAR or NFL and it hasn’t been done in the last twenty years in the NBA, NHL or MLB.

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?

The history of the TT Circuit Assen goes back to 1925. Until 1954 the circuit consisted of brick-paved public roads, running through the villages of Borger, Schoonloo and Grolloo. At that time the track was 17.75mi/28.4 km in length. Races were held there annually until the second World War (1940-1945) slowed the racing action, but racing resumed there until the idea of a new type of circuit was conceived.

The Assen race track was built in 1955, and initially had a length of 7.705 km. The current track has a length of 4.555 km with the longest straight measuring .970 km. The curves in Assen are banked and the surface is extremely grippy, so drivers are able to drive much faster on the course than other circuits. Today these sloped or curved bends have been modified due to safety issues and to accommodate more types of racing.

Nowadays the circuit is used for several World Championships including international and national race meetings for motorcycles. The most important annual events are the historic Dutch TT and the Dutch Round of the World Superbikes which has been running there since 1992.

The Circuit is considered "The Cathedral" of motorcycling by the fans and racers alike. In 2006 the track went through a series of alterations to make it compatible with a variety of racing series including Champ Car, in fact only one section of the circuit is original as the finish line has never moved. 

 

- Kelly Brown-

photos will be on automobilsport.com under PHOTOS - AMERICAN SERIES

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29.08.2007 / MaP

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