Wilson 'Can't Believe It'

Justin Wilson was both relieved and elated finally to have broken his Champ Car duck at Toronto on Sunday

Wilson 'Can't Believe It'

The 26-year-old from Sheffield has been knocking on the door of a maiden victory ever since joining the RuSPORT team this season, his second year in the series. At Portland last month, he was the class of the field before an engine failure sidelined him shortly before half-distance.

On this occasion Wilson benefited from a little good fortune when leaders Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Tracy collided at the first round of pitstops.

But the win didn't simply fall into his lap, far from it. He earned it thanks to a perfectly judged outbraking manoeuvre on Oriol Servia in the closing stages. Thereafter he pulled away at a meteoric rate in the few remaining laps of green-flag running.

As a measure of his pace in that final stint, Wilson set the fastest lap of the race by a remarkable six tenths of a second.

"I can't believe we've finally done it," said Wilson. "I'm very excited for RuSPORT. I'm very excited for myself. You know, I think this is something that's been on the cards for the last couple of races and we can move forward from here now.

"The third lap chasing Oriol, I decided, 'This is the one I'm going for.' I managed to get a good run [along the back straight] and closed right in on him, and then I was able to get down the inside.

"It was good, clean racing. I couldn't believe it when I came out in front and realised I had the chance of taking it all the way to the end."

Amid the jubilation of the moment, Wilson paused to dedicate his win to the victims of last Thursday's terrorist attacks in London.

"Obviously it's very sad news to hear about the bombings, especially after the celebration of [London winning the 2012] Olympics only 24 hours earlier," he said. "The only thing we can do is just carry on as normal and try not to let that kind of thing disturb us any more than it needs to."

Wilson's victory was also the first Champ Car success for RuSPORT, the Colorado-based outfit founded by businessman and part-time racer Carl Russo. As such, it confirmed the arrival of the second-year team as bona fide front-runners capable of competing with the benchmark Newman/Haas and Forsythe squads.

"There's a lot of emotions flowing through me right now," said the ebullient Russo, very much a cheerleader and motivational guru as well as the team's owner.

"The first one is I'm just so happy for the whole team, all the guys and gals that are part of this team. I mean, this is an extraordinarily difficult paddock to try and win in. I think you saw an element of that on Saturday when 0.002s [the margin by which Wilson missed out on pole] made the difference."

When asked how the team were going to celebrate the milestone, Russo replied: "We're going to go and have a beer. An ale, by the way; a chewy ale, I might add... And then we're going to go back to work for Edmonton. Let's pack up and do this again."

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Author Alex Sabine
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