Bourdais causes boilover to win in Detroit

Sebastien Bourdais has surged to a surprise win in the opening Detroit race

Sebastien Bourdais has surged to a surprise win in the opening Detroit race

Sebastien Bourdais cashed in on a clever strategy call to claim the opening race at the Verizon IndyCar Series Detroit double-header round on the bumpy Belle Isle circuit.

The win was craftily devised when his KVSH Racing squad elected to fuel Bourdais and not take tyres with 27 laps remaining following an earlier call to pit after three laps to switch from soft compound to hard tyres.

The four-times Champ Car champion produced a determined run to the finish of the 70-lap race to hold out Dale Coyne Racing’s Conor Daly.

It was a triumph for the minnow teams which outgunned the Team Penske juggernaut with Juan Montoya crossing the line in third after revealing he was hampered by a boost problem.

A winner in Detroit last year, Bourdais threaded his way through traffic in the closing laps to record a 2s win.

Graham Rahal (Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan) was fourth ahead of Helio Castroneves (Team Penske) and Andretti Autosport runners Carlos Munoz and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Ganassi’s Charlie Kimball and Tony Kanaan were eighth and ninth while Indy 500 winner Alex Rossi (Andretti-Herta) was 10th.

“The car was really quick and all we needed was clear air. I can’t even dream of that. I don’t even know how we got there,” Bourdais said.

“For a long time I thought the strategy was a real mess until we got some clean air and then it started working.”

By mid-race Penske held the top four positions with polesitter Simon Pagenaud leading the way from Will Power, Montoya and Castroneves.

Power sustained an aggressive drive slipping underneath Montoya which saw the Colombian narrowly avoid the wall.

The race then changed complexion when a mechanical failure threw James Hinchcliffe (Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports) into the tyre barrier at Turn 7 on lap 42 while running in fifth which triggered a hive of pitlane activity.

Montoya, however, elected to stay out picking up the lead behind the Safety Car.

Power then spun off under the Hinchcliffe safety period with a gearbox problem, ending what was shaping as a promising run as he lost his rear left wheel in the process.

Montoya handed the lead to Scott Dixon when he pitted for a final time with 15 laps remaining before the latter went in for a service a lap later.

Dixon filed back into the battle however lost valuable track position with his Ganassi machine slow to return to full pace, suffering an electrical problem which saw him mired in 19th.

Pagenaud had dominated off the start but eventually finished 13th with his Chevrolet starved of fuel, however the Frenchman maintains the series lead.

Earlier Max Chilton (Chip Ganassi Racing) clouted the Turn 5 wall when he appeared to lose steering in his #8 Ganassi Chevrolet, consequently bringing out the first caution period.

VIDEO: Race 1 wrap

See below for full results of Race 1

1

Sebastien Bourdais

Dallara/Chevrolet

70

1:40:51.68

2

Conor Daly

Dallara/Honda

70

2.04

3

Juan Pablo Montoya

Dallara/Chevrolet

70

5.70

4

Graham Rahal

Dallara/Honda

70

7.47

5

Helio Castroneves

Dallara/Chevrolet

70

40.01

6

Carlos Munoz

Dallara/Honda

70

40.75

7

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Dallara/Honda

70

42.29

8

Charlie Kimball

Dallara/Chevrolet

70

44.46

9

Tony Kanaan

Dallara/Chevrolet

70

45.58

10

Alexander Rossi

Dallara/Honda

70

48.29

11

Takuma Sato

Dallara/Honda

70

51.10

12

Gabby Chaves

Dallara/Honda

70

51.32

13

Simon Pagenaud

Dallara/Chevrolet

70

52.53

14

Josef Newgarden

Dallara/Chevrolet

70

1:06.23

15

Mikhail Aleshin

Dallara/Honda

70

1:14.14

16

Marco Andretti

Dallara/Honda

69

1 Lap

17

Spencer Pigot

Dallara/Chevrolet

69

1 Lap

18

James Hinchcliffe

Dallara/Honda

65

5 Laps

19

Scott Dixon

Dallara/Chevrolet

56

Electrical

20

Will Power

Dallara/Chevrolet

44

Mechanical

21

Max Chilton

Dallara/Chevrolet

8

Contact

22

Jack Hawksworth

Dallara/Honda

0

Mechanical

Points standings

1

Simon Pagenaud

313

2

Helio Castroneves

254

3

Scott Dixon

247

4

Carlos Munoz

227

5

Josef Newgarden

227

6

Juan Pablo Montoya

223

7

Alexander Rossi

223

8

James Hinchcliffe

217

9

Tony Kanaan

214

10

Charlie Kimball

213

11

Graham Rahal

205

12

Will Power

189

13

Ryan Hunter-Reay

188

14

Sebastien Bourdais

185

15

Takuma Sato

153

16

Conor Daly

149

17

Marco Andretti

144

18

Mikhail Aleshin

142

19

Max Chilton

131

20

Jack Hawksworth

99

21

J.R. Hildebrand

84

22

Oriol Servia

72

23

Gabby Chaves

64

24

Spencer Pigot

63

25

Townsend Bell

55

26

Luca Filippi

45

27

Matthew Brabham

37

28

Alex Tagliani

35

29

Pippa Mann

33

30

Ed Carpenter

33

31

Sage Karam

22

32

Bryan Clauson

21

33

Stefan Wilson

14

34

Buddy Lazier

12

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