Champ Car

Philippe becomes youngest winner

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2006 Portland RuSPORT Philippe

Image credit: From Official Website

22/10/2006 at 07:58

Nelson Philippe became the youngest race winner in ChampCar World Series history after triumphing at Surfers Paradise in Australia.

The 20-year-old Frenchman started from fifth on the grid, but bided his time early on before hitting the front on lap 34 and going on to win.

His victory was also the first for Philippe's CTE-HVM team and maintained the street course's record of having never been won by the same person twice.

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"I just can't believe this day has finally come,” said a delighted Philippe. “I am so full of adrenaline, I actually feel like throwing up, but at the same time, it is the best feeling in the world!

“This is just incredible, my crew was perfect today and Will Phillips my engineer gave me a great car all weekend.

“I came to this series at very young age without a whole lot of experience racing cars, but I've worked so hard, developing myself on the track and off the track. I knew I could do it and I am really enjoying this success and the confidence it brings.”

Pole-sitter Will Power led away from the start from Sebastien Bourdais, Paul Tracy, Bruno Junqueira, Philippe and AJ Allmendinger.

Philippe was looking racy and dived down the inside of Junqueira's Newman/Haas car for fourth on lap nine – followed by Allmendinger – who needed to win in order to keep the championship battle alive into the final race of the season.

The title, however, was resolved on 19 when Allmendinger crashed out against a tyre wall after his car was earlier covered in fuel when a fuel hose split during a pit-stop.

That meant Sebastien Bourdais became the first man to win three straight titles, and with the pressure off, the Frenchman decided to go for it.

He forced his way down the inside of Power for the lead on lap 29, but left his braking too late and clattered into his rival before sliding down the escape road.

While Bourdais was able to recover, albeit with a huge time loss, Power came to a halt at the next corner with accident damage.

That left Oriol Servia leading, but the Spaniard was on the ropes as Philippe led a seven-car train that passed the PKV driver.

Once the final sequence of stops has been completed, it was left to Mario Dominguez to challenge Philippe for the win, but the Mexican was unable to pass and trailed home by 0.727 seconds in his Rocketsports car.

Alex Tagliani completed the podium for Team Australia, with Forsythe driver Tracy and Andrew Ranger in a Conquest car rounding out the top five.

Bourdais eventually finished eighth, after spinning on the final lap.

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