AVONDALE, La. – Arguably the most controversial moment of the day at NOLA Motorsports Park – other than when qualifying for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana would actually start due to intermittent rain – was a penalty assessed to KVSH Racing driver Sebastien Bourdais for qualifying interference.
Bourdais ran wide at Turn 1 and re-entered the track ahead of Tony Kanaan. The Frenchman was deemed by INDYCAR to have interfered with Tony Kanaan on a hot lap; subsequently, Bourdais was docked his two fastest laps and removed from being fastest in group one of Q1 to 12th and last in his group.
Neither Bourdais, nor KVSH Racing co-owner Jimmy Vasser, was pleased with the decision.
“We let him go by, and Seb went off and pulled on the track, let Tony go by, which he did, and then Tony had two more clear laps,” Vasser told NBCSN’s Marty Snider.
“So Tony’s P2, we went to P1, and we deserved to go through. I don’t like the call. I don’t understand it. I want Tony to tell them. We got out of the way.
“I think, if Tony and Ganassi stick with that, it’s chicken (expletive).”
Bourdais was less vocal, but still frustrated.
“You cant see anything behind you. I rejoined the best I could not to impede,” Bourdais told Snider. “Once I’m back on the track, I can’t see anything in the mirrors.
“It’s like, what do you want to do? I’m sorry… it’s like the conditions are such, you can’t see anything. At end of the day, if he doesn’t make it, I understand. But he makes it, and he’s P2. No harm, no foul.
“There’s nothing to say. They made the call, they are the governing body. As far as I’m concerned, they told me he was coming and I look in the mirrors I don’t see anything. So where do I go?
“What can TK do? He’s not gonna be against having an opponent removed from the equation. It’s racing. It’s whatever race control decides to do. They need to be OK with what they decide. It’s not my call.”
MotorSportsTalk reached out to Kanaan for comment, however given that the qualifying washout negated the penalty, Kanaan had no comment on the situation.
Kanaan will start third, Bourdais sixth, Sunday in the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana.