Report: Hunter-Reay's victory

For the second straight year the Surfers Paradise Champ Car race was plagued by rain and controversy. Thankfully, matters were improved on both fronts in 2003 as the rain delay lasted only 40 minutes and more than half the race laps were run under green flag conditions

Report: Hunter-Reay's victory

The result was almost as surprising as the remarkable 2002 race, with rookies Ryan Hunter-Reay and Darren Manning scoring the first 1-2 finish for first year Champ Car drivers since Teo Fabi beat Al Unser Jnr to the 1983 Pocono 500 victory. Jimmy Vasser finished third to complete a fantastic day for Stefan Johansson's American Spirit team, and all three podium finishers were driving the unfancied Reynard chassis.

As in 2002, there were those who felt hard done by CART. The aggrieved parties this year were Michel Jourdain and Team Rahal. Having done a great job of saving his rain tyres as the track dried, Jourdain passed Adrian Fernandez for second on lap 29 before overtaking Bruno Junqueira for the lead next time around.

Alex Tagliani was running two places behind on the track, and he pitted on Lap 30 for slicks. Significantly, so did the three eventual podium finishers. Upon exiting the pits, he promptly spun, bringing out the yellow flag. When Jourdain arrived at the pits, he found them closed and had the field pack up behind him as he was forced to drive a slow lap behind the Pace Car.

After making his stop, Jourdain found himself behind the lead trio, who had managed to get in and out of the pits prior to the yellow caused by Tagliani. The Mexican was upset after the race.

"Chris Kneifel specifically told us in the drivers meeting that CART would do everything possible to keep the pits open during windows if there was a yellow on the track," Jourdain stated. "When I saw the pits were closed, I figured I would get to Turn 1 and see the biggest accident on earth, but there were just two stalled cars. Closing the pits cost me the race. They handed out penalties all day and they penalized me in a completely different manner."

Hunter-Reay has had some down points during his rookie campaign, but the young American has turned in some excellent performances in the second half of the season, including a third place run at Mid-Ohio. Aside from producing a legitimate win on the track Sunday, Hunter-Reay has been a favourite of the local media since he and Manning arrived a week early for extra PR activities.

"It's unbelievable and I feel like I'm in a dream," said Hunter-Reay. "It was tough to keep a rhythm because of all the restarts near the end of the race. It's been a tough season and a lot of things have gone against us, but it's great for the team to get both cars on the podium here at the last road race of the year."

Manning passed Vasser after the 1996 CART champion got a poor run off the hairpin near the end. But he couldn't make up the 3.5s gap that Hunter-Reay had pulled out.

"I had an eventful day and it just shows how anybody can win on any day in this series," said Manning after achieving a CART career best. "We struggled in the dry and were never any better than 14th fastest. But the rain helped us and the guys gave us some fantastic pit stops. I tried to go after Ryan but we couldn't catch him."

Behind Vasser, Jourdain was disappointed with fourth place, even though it puts him within four points of Junqueira for second place in the championship. Patrick Carpentier overcame a heavy cold to finish fifth, while Gualter Salles and Geoff Boss produced a pair of top tens for Dale Coyne by finishing sixth and ninth.

shares
comments
Manning elated with second

Previous article

Manning elated with second

Next article

Tracy committed to CART

Tracy committed to CART
Load comments
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
How Radical's latest machines fare on track Plus

How Radical's latest machines fare on track

The lightweight sportscar manufacturer has not rewritten the rulebook with its latest machines, but the new SR3 XX and SR10 still provide a step forward on its previous successful models

General
Feb 8, 2021
The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction Plus

The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction

The forthcoming Netflix film linking the world of underworld crime and motorsport plays on a theme that isn't exactly new. Over the years, several shady figures have attempted to make it in racing before their dubious dealings caught up with them

General
Jan 31, 2021
How a GP is thriving in a COVID-free territory Plus

How a GP is thriving in a COVID-free territory

The New Zealand Grand Prix's mix of rising talent and big-name stars thrilled the crowds (yes, remember crowds?) assembled for the Toyota Racing Series meeting at Hampton Downs last weekend and left distant observers craving a repeat

General
Jan 26, 2021
How a much-changed Macau GP kept the party going Plus

How a much-changed Macau GP kept the party going

OPINION: The 67th edition of the Macau Grand Prix might have been a largely muted affair to the outside world without its international influx and star line-ups, another victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organisers deserve huge credit for keeping the party going

General
Nov 24, 2020