Da Matta Wins in Portland

Formula One refugee Cristiano da Matta rediscovered the kind of form that propelled him to the 2002 Champ Car title with a superb drive to victory at Portland on Sunday

Da Matta Wins in Portland

The Brazilian used an inventive pit strategy to vault to the front of the pack after starting from a midfield grid position. Because he had been unable to make much progress in the early stages, da Matta pitted unusually early on lap 13 so he could extricate himself from traffic and run in clean air.

It paid off handsomely, resulting in da Matta's first win since returning to Champ Cars this season and the first ever for the third-year PKV team.

"This is not like a normal win," said da Matta. "Being so far away from the winner's circle for so long, and also with a new team where we haven't been working together for very long, feels much better than a normal win."

Assuming that da Matta had just been out of sequence, and therefore not a true contender for the win, the runner-up finishers were somewhat surprised to find him go all the way to Victory Lane.

Defending race winner Sebastien Bourdais, who set up a classic overtaking maneuver of Paul Tracy under braking into the first turn when Tracy was held up by a backmarker on lap 73 of the 105-lap event, thought he had passed for the lead.

Instead the Frenchman had to content himself with second place after chasing da Matta in the closing stages to no avail.

Paul Tracy finished third ahead of Forsythe Championship Racing teammate Mario Dominguez and RuSPORT's AJ Allmendinger.

Britain's Justin Wilson started from pole and built a commanding lead over the first 43 laps, only for an uncharacteristic Ford-Cosworth engine related problem to cruelly spoil his hopes of a maiden Champ Car win.

Result of G.I. Joe's Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland:

CLASSIFIED: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Cristiano PKV 1h51:51.404 2. Sebastien Bourdais Newman Haas + 10.128 3. Paul Tracy Forsythe Championship + 17.570 4. Mario Dominguez Forsythe Championship + 18.640 5. A.J. Allmendinger RuSPORT + 26.708 6. Jimmy Vasser PKV + 33.477 7. Andrew Ranger Mi-Jack Conquest + 40.345 8. Ronnie Bremer HVM, Inc. + 1 Lap 9. Bjorn Wirdheim HVM, Inc. + 1 Lap 10. Timo Glock Rocketsports + 1 Lap 11. Michael Valiante Dale Coyne + 1 Lap 12. Nelson Philippe Mi-Jack Conquest + 1 Lap 13. Ricardo Sperafico Dale Coyne + 1 Lap 14. Marcus Marshall Team Australia + 2 Laps 15. Ryan Hunter-Reay Rocketsports + 2 Laps NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS: Driver Team On Lap Oriol Servia Newman Haas Racing 79 Justin Wilson RuSPORT 45 Alex Tagliani Team Australia 8 Fastest Lap: Sebastien Bourdais, 59.923s, on lap 79 
shares
comments
Power Failure Thwarts Bourdais
Previous article

Power Failure Thwarts Bourdais

Next article

Engine Woes Rob Wilson of Win

Engine Woes Rob Wilson of Win
Load comments
Rating the best drivers of the century so far Plus

Rating the best drivers of the century so far

Autosport's Top 50 feature has been a staple of the magazine for the past two decades since its first appearance in 2002. Here are the drivers that have featured most prevalently during that time

General
Jan 7, 2022
The best motorsport moments of 2021 Plus

The best motorsport moments of 2021

Motorsport produced one of its greatest years of all-time in 2021 despite a backdrop of ongoing COVID-19 challenges and an ever-changing racing landscape. Through the non-stop action Autosport has collected the finest moments from the past 12 months to highlight the incredible drama and joy motorsport generates

General
Dec 31, 2021
The racing comeback artists who resurrected long-dormant careers Plus

The racing comeback artists who resurrected long-dormant careers

Making it in motorsport can be tough, and sometimes drivers move elsewhere before their best chance arrives. Here are some of those who made it back

General
Dec 26, 2021
The hidden racing gem attracting ex-F1 heroes Plus

The hidden racing gem attracting ex-F1 heroes

It’s rarely mentioned when it comes to assessing the best national contests, but the Brazilian Stock Car series that reaches its climax this weekend has an ever-growing appeal. Its expanding roster of ex-Formula 1 names has helped to draw in new fans, but it's the closeness of competition that keeps them watching

General
Dec 10, 2021
The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under Plus

The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under

Joey Mawson made waves in the middle of the last decade, beating future Haas Formula 1 driver Mick Schumacher - among other highly-rated talents - to the 2016 German F4 title. A run in F1's feeder GP3 category only caused his career to stall, but now back in Australia Mawson's S5000 title success has set that to rights

General
May 8, 2021
The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing Plus

The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing

OPINION: The greed-driven push for a European Super League that threatened to tear football apart is collapsing at the seams. Motor racing's equivalent, the football-themed Superleague Formula series of 2008-11, was everything that the proposed ESL never could be

General
Apr 21, 2021
The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan Plus

The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan

Having had the door to F1 slammed in his face and come within three laps of winning the Indianapolis 500, the collapse of a Peugeot LMP1 shot meant Japan was Bertrand Baguette's last chance of a career. But it's one which he has grasped with both hands

General
Feb 27, 2021
The female all-rounder who arrived "too early" Plus

The female all-rounder who arrived "too early"

From Formula 3 to truck racing, Dakar and EuroNASCAR via a winning stint in the DTM, there's not much Ellen Lohr hasn't seen in a stellar racing career that highlights the merit in being a generalist. But she believes her career came too early...

General
Feb 17, 2021