Sebastien Bourdais pulled off a serious upset within the IndyCar season-opener Sunday, driving from final place to a victory that left him in tears.
Bourdais made an offseason transfer to Dale Coyne Racing, satisfied he might assist flip across the small staff. The French driver introduced two engineers from his glory days and was decided to recreate his early success.
“Dale, I will be endlessly in debt to you, thanks for bringing my crew again,” Bourdais stated on his workforce radio. “Thanks for the chance.”
A tearful Bourdais defined within the victory circle simply how a lot this meant.
“It is the primary one, and placing the band again collectively,” he stated.
When he moved to Coyne, Bourdais had the group proprietor open the payroll to rent engineer Craig Hampson, who led Bourdais to 31 victories, 31 poles and 4 consecutive titles from 2004 to 2007.
Bourdais additionally introduced with him Olivier Boisson, who was Bourdais’ engineer at KVSH Racing the final a number of seasons. Bourdais and Boisson teamed to win 4 races for KVSH.
So the potential was there for Bourdais to assist construct the Coyne group. However few anticipated it to return Sunday on the short-term road course in St. Pete, the city Bourdais calls house. Group Penske was looking for its fourth consecutive victory within the occasion, and an issue in qualifying meant Bourdais began final within the 21-automotive subject.
It left him downtrodden the day earlier than the race.
“It is in all probability the toughest race to get well. The (passing) home windows are tremendous slender and it is troublesome to move,” he stated. “We had a reasonably good automotive and I simply threw it away. I actually did not know what to do myself. To show the end result from yesterday to at the moment, I simply thank the blokes.”
Bourdais earned his thirty sixth profession victory, which broke a tie with Bobby Unser for sixth on IndyCar’s all-time win listing. It was the fifth profession win for the Coyne group.
“From final to first, that is about all you are able to do,” Coyne stated, including of his new hires, “we knew we might be a lot better than we have been earlier than.”
Bourdais led sixty nine of the one hundred ten laps to provide Honda a a lot-wanted victory over Chevrolet. He beat reigning collection champion Simon Pagenaud to the end line by 10.350 seconds.
“He was untouchable,” Pagenaud stated.
Scott Dixon completed third for Chip Ganassi Racing, in its first race again with Honda. Ryan Hunter-Reay was fourth for Andretti Autosport and Honda appeared a lot improved with 4 drivers within the prime 5. Takuma Sato was fifth in his first race with Andretti.
However the day belonged to Bourdais, who’s off to a tremendous begin to the racing season. He was a part of the category victory in January on the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, and heads to Sebring subsequent weekend in search of one other sports activities automotive win.
Bourdais additionally earned a category win in final yr’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is definitely Bourdais’ hometown and the one race he is all the time needed to win.