Bourdais eyes third Champ Car win

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Sebastien Bourdais has been the only winner on the Champ Car circuit this year and hopes to go for third in a row at Monterrey.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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Sebastien Bourdais has been the only winner on the Champ Car circuit this year and hopes to go for third in a row at Monterrey. The Frenchman will be the favourite at Monterrey's curvy road course, where he won in 2004 and sat on the pole last year. But the fans' focus will be on Mexico's Mario Dominguez, who speeds south of the border second in the standings. He won the pole last week at the Houston Grand Prix, then finished third behind Bourdais and Canadian Paul Tracy. Dominquez hot favourite Dubbed "Super Mario'' by Mexican newspapers, the 30-year-old Dominguez is sponsored by Forsythe Championship Racing and is 18 points behind Bourdais' 50. He made his Champ Car debut on the Monterrey track in 2002. "We're going to try to make up for what happened in Houston here in Monterrey. "For me, it's a race that's very important, a race in my country and an opportunity to put Mexico's name up there at the top," Dominguez said on Thursday. The top is where Bourdais always seems to be. "You can't say you will win the championship with three races, but for sure you can lose it," said Bourdais, the winner of the last two Champ Car World Series titles. Playing it safe might be the key to prevailing at the 3.39-kilometer (2.104-mile) road course, which winds around a defunct steel mill at Parque Fundidora in Monterrey. Its sprawling metropolitan area of 3 million makes it Mexico's third largest city. Heat factor The heat will also be a factor during Sunday's 76 laps. Located about one and a half hours by car from the U.S. border, temperatures should climb into the low 30 degree Celsius at the course throughout the weekend. "We've been very successful here in the past and have begun every race up in the front,'' said Bourdais of Newman/Haas Racing, who has won the last three poles in Monterrey. Bourdais' No. 1 McDonald's Ford led 17 laps here in 2005, but was running fourth on Lap 48 when he tried a risky inside pass and rolled over Tracy's front left tire. Tracy was knocked out of the race with a broken suspension, while Bourdais recovered after pitting to finish fifth. The collision helped Bourdais' teammate, Brazilian Bruno Junqueira, win the race, becoming the first Champ Car driver in 19 years with race victories in each of his first five seasons with the series. An injury at Indianapolis the following week ended his 2005 season. The Monterrey Grand Prix has drawn an average three-day crowd of more than 228,000 during the past five years. Those fans will cheer the loudest for Dominguez. (AP)

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