Cadillac racing team No. 01 started from pole position for last week’s Acura Grand Prix at Long Beach and ended up winning, but the team’s performance was far from dominant.
Sebastian Bourdais drives a Cadillac DPi-VR No. 01 around Long Beach in a record-breaking qualifying round, beating the previous record by nearly two seconds. However, the Cadillac No. 01 had an incident on track just seven minutes into the 100 minute race on the Long Beach highway track. Bourdais was behind the wheel of the No. machine. 01 when the machine pulled away from him and marked the wall at the famous sharp bend. His contact wasn’t heavy, but enough to stop Bourdais for a few precious seconds while the rest of the field shot past him.
Despite the setbacks, Bourdais put together the No. machine. 01 back and set after the field. Just 22 laps later – or just under half an hour – he was back on the court to take over first place once again. He struck from 21 seconds behind and executed five passes on his way back to the front of the field.
Bourdais complained and handed over the No. machine. 01 to his Chip Gannassi Racing teammate, Renger Van der Zande.
“You’re kind of in a trance when you’re trying to do something that shouldn’t be possible,” Bourdais says of his move back to first place. “You are excited because you are so mad at yourself. I guess I got used to stupid mistakes and tried to make amends. Luckily, there wasn’t much damage and I’m glad we were able to take the lead again.”
Van der Zande maintains the lead over the Cadillac No. 02 in second, led by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn as the round ended. Machine number 01 crossed the finish line with a margin of victory of 3.761 seconds over car number 02. Further back, the Cadillac No. 5 driven by Tristan Vautier and Richard Westbrook took third place.
“I think we learned something today, which doesn’t make the French people angry,” Van der Zande said of team-mate Bourdais. “He (messed up); he put it on the wall, but then he did well by raising the order and he gave the car to me as the lead.”
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship resumes on April 29th at Leguna Seca.
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