TORONTO (AP) — Sebastien Bourdais waited out the rain, then took care of a winless drought.
Bourdais dominated from the pole at Toronto in the first IndyCar Series race of a Sunday doubleheader, cruising to his first open wheel victory since 2007.
The race was shortened to 65 laps after rain wiped out Saturday’s race. Another 65-lap race was set for the afternoon at Exhibition Place.
Bourdais, in his first season with KVSH Racing, made it to the podium for the first time this year. He finished second and third on this track in two races last year. Bourdais won his first pole since 2007 and now has his first victory since the 2007 Champ Car season finale in Mexico City.
He has 32 career open wheel wins and this is his first in 53 races under the IndyCar banner.
“It just went perfect from green to checkered flag,” Bourdais said.
This was KVSH Racing’s first victory since Tony Kanaan won the 2013 Indianapolis 500.
Bourdais stood on his car and raised his arms. He hugged his wife and two children who weren’t born when he was the class of Champ Car. Owners Kevin Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser and James Sullivan greeted him with hugs and smiles.
“Hopefully, there’s more of that to come,” Vasser said. “When he gets on a roll, he’s unbeatable.”
It’s hard to know that in the IndyCar era. But in Champ Car, Bourdais long reigned supreme. He won four consecutive Champ Car titles from 2004 to 2007. But he left American open-wheel racing for Formula One following his fourth Champ Car title, and he never came close to posting the same success.
His win moved him into eighth on the career open-wheel list.
Of Bourdais’ 32 victories, 15 are on road courses and 13 are on street courses. He’s also won on three ovals – twice at Las Vegas and once at Milwaukee.
His win also means he beat Kanaan to checkered flag this season. Kanaan and KVHSH Racing parted ways after last season.
Helio Castroneves was second and Kanaan was third to complete the podium. Castroneves had his sixth podium finish of the season and Kanaan, his first.
Castroneves stretched his lead in the points race to 28 over Will Power. He’ll start from the pole in the second race.
Bourdais, who entered 12th in the points race, was the second driver to win from the pole this season.
“It’s reinvigorating,” Vasser said. “I think there’s more to come. I really think this is the beginning of more wins.”
Bourdais can make it a sweep later in the day if he can come back to win from the middle of the pack.
If so, the only question will be, how to celebrate: With some champagne for the Frenchmam Bourdais or some wine from Vasser’s V12 Vineyards winery?
Either way, it’s a win worth savoring.
Once the race finally got going, no driver could touch Bourdais.
The last IndyCar Series race postponed because of rain was in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2011. That race ran its first 15 laps on Sunday, May 1 and concluded with 40 laps on May 2. The last race to be postponed in full was at St. Petersburg, Florida, on March 28, 2010. The race was run March 29, 2010.
Sunday’s first race came to an almost immediate halt when a multicar crash led to a red flag on the opening lap. After a long delay – and more sitting for the drivers after Saturday’s rain delay – racing resumed with Bourdais leading the field to green. He never really had to look back.
“It’s really sweet. It was one where the stars aligned,” Bourdais said. “Last year we were second and third, and it’s great to get this win.”