Long Beach flashback: Bourdais begins run of four straight in 2006

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In a race where a first-corner accident eliminated several contenders, Sebastien Bourdais romped to the win in the 2006 Champ Car season opener at Long Beach.

Bourdais’ path to victory was made easier when Mario Dominguez set off a chain reaction of contact at Turn 1 that took out AJ Allmendinger, Oriol Servia, Paul Tracy and Bruno Junqueira. Allmendinger returns to the streets for the first time since this weekend.

The win for Bourdais was his second of three in a row at Long Beach (2005, 2007), and also started a run of four straight victories to open the season for the Newman/Haas Racing. Allmendinger nearly matched him later in the year when he won three straight races for his new team boss Gerry Forsythe.

The bespectacled Frenchman beat Justin Wilson and Alex Tagliani to the flag. Wilson drove for the RuSPORT team, Tagliani for Derrick Walker.

Besides Bourdais, Wilson, Tagliani, Allmendinger and Servia, the only other driver from 2006 who will be in this year’s race is Will Power. Power’s Long Beach debut was his first race start in the United States, after doing two international races for Derrick Walker’s team at the tail end of 2005. Power started and finished ninth.

Katherine Legge also made her publicized debut in the 2006 race in Long Beach. Legge, who was Bourdais’ teammate last year and the victim of a last-minute driver change ahead of this year at Dragon Racing, advanced from 17th to eighth place in her first start. She won in Long Beach in the Formula Atlantic race there in 2005.

Legge’s promotion to Champ Car came at a time when the then rival Indy Racing League – now IndyCar – was riding the waves of media attention thanks to Danica Patrick’s arrival a year earlier.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III