The Australian is solidly in contention for the
TORONTO (AP) — With rain pouring down and visibility near zero when he got behind other cars, Will Power decided it was time to get aggressive.
The Australian drove from fourth to first in 14 laps, finally splashing past rookie Ryan Dalziel to take the lead with 23 minutes to go, and went on to an easy victory Sunday in the messy Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto.
To get to the lead, Power also had to pass three-time Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais and rookie Neel Jani. Thanks to a series of late caution flags, he was able to go after each of them in turn.
“I was close behind Sebastien and I knew he was quite tentative in the wet and I attacked him,” Power said. “I got him on a restart. Then the next restart, I got Neel and the next restart, I got Dalziel. It’s just about being aggressive at the right time and not hitting anyone.”
Once last year’s top Champ Car rookie got to the front, he was able to pull away, building leads up to five seconds before slowing a bit at the end as he wrapped up his second career victory. The win moved Power from third to second in season points, putting him solidly in contention for the championship with Bourdais and rookie Robert Doornbos.
“I just drove so hard here because we’ve just had so much bad luck in the last few races,” said Power, whose first Champ Car victory came in the 2007 opener in Las Vegas. “I didn’t care; I just went hard. The car was good in the wet. It was good in the dry, and we stuck it to them.”
Bourdais started from the pole, lost the lead to Oriol Servia at the start and never gained control of the race. The Frenchman was running fourth late in the timed 1-hour, 45-minute race when Doornbos skidded on the wet track, banged into the rear of Bourdais and sent him backward into a tire wall, ending his day.
Bourdais wound up ninth and Doornbos, who killed his engine at the start and began the race last, finished sixth, taking the series lead heading to Edmonton, Alberta, in two weeks. The Dutch driver has 164 points to 162 for Power and 161 for Bourdais, who went into the race with a two-point edge on Doornbos.
Jani finished a career-best second, although he was nearly three seconds — half the front straightaway — behind the winner. Wilson wound up third, followed by rookie Simon Pagenaud, who got hit and lost his front wing on the opening lap, and Bruno Junqueira.
It rained hard in the morning, but the race began on a drying track with all drivers using slick tires. Rain began again about halfway through, and most drivers pitted quickly for rain tires. The rest of the race was run in the rain, with rooster tails of water coming off the cars.
Only eight of the 17 starters were running at the finish, although not necessarily because of the wet conditions.
The race got off to a wild start, with two crashes on the opening lap.