Bourdais upset with race control: 'We didn't do anything wrong'

Bourdais upset with race control: 'We didn't do anything wrong'

IndyCar

Bourdais upset with race control: 'We didn't do anything wrong'

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Nobody was more exciting or deserving of a good finish than Sebastien Bourdais during Sunday’s 44th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. And nobody had less to show for it.

The 39-year-old Frenchman started ninth and charged to the front – making one of the greatest passes in street-course racing history to take second place from Scott Dixon halfway through the race before everything fell apart.

Running third on a Lap 46 restart, Seb went outside then sliced in front of Dixon at 175mph as they broke from Turn 1 in his Coyne/Vasser/Sullivan SealMaster Honda.

“That was the coolest pass ever,” praised engineer Craig Hampson on the radio. “Now go get [Alexander] Rossi.”

But before Bourdais could give chase to the leader, IndyCar’s race control ruled that he had to give the position back to Dixon because his right-side wheels had crossed the pit exit line as he made his move.

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“I got a run from another planet coming off the hairpin and had such a run on Dixon that he probably couldn’t imagine I was pulling alongside him,” explained Bourdais. “But then he came down on me and I had to take evasive action.

“I mean what else was I supposed to do? I was trying to save my life at that point. And now I’ve got to give the %$%# spot back? I just gave you the best TV you’ve had all day and that’s my reward?”

Bourdais’ team pleaded their case to race control about being forced to the outside but to no avail, so he let Dixon past. But that only lasted a couple corners.

“I was so pissed off I was going to get that spot back as quick as possible,” he said after pulling off another pass entering Turn 1 that damn near equaled his earlier move.

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From that point, it looked like a sure second for the winner of the season opener at St. Pete but then rookie teammate Zachary Claman De Melo pounded the wall on Lap 60. Bourdais was entering the pits when the lights flashed yellow.

“I wasn’t sure if I was good or bad when that yellow came on but the whole weekend was ruined for one and a half seconds,” he said.

“Race control could have waited a couple seconds before closing the pits but they didn’t so we went to the back where we had to race idiots.”

Bourdais then got spun out by rookie Jordan King on Lap 72.

“After Charlie [Kimball] bends both my right side toe links, it was game over and then Jordan King felt like a hero and took us out,” continued the four-time IndyCar champion. “Then Matt Leist tried to crash both of us a couple times.

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“Just beyond frustrating. Our tire strategy was perfect, I had a good racecar, we didn’t do anything wrong and wound up 15th.”

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