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October 22, 2006

Sebastien Bourdais


ERIC MAUK: All right. Ladies and gentlemen, we'd like to get started here with a very special press conference, as we are joined by the winner: The 2006 Bridgestone Presents a Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford Championship.
He wins his record-tying third consecutive Champ Car title here today, joining Ted Horn as the only drivers ever to win three consecutive Champ Car titles in the 99-year history of the series.
The driver of the #1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman/Haas Racing, Sebastien Bourdais.
Sebastien, three consecutive championships. He leads the series in wins with six in poles, with seven in podium finishes with 10.
You knew you had a fairly easy day to clinch the title, but it didn't quite go exactly the way you wanted. So tell us a little bit about your day.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I guess it was in 2-03, the first part, I have to be careful, because all I needed to do was finish, but I have to make sure I was going to finish. And you know the second one, once A.J. had his problem, it was all for the win because we really didn't have anything to fight for anymore. It was win or nothing.
And then after that, after the incident with Will, and we decide we were going to have to make it on the three stop, it was kind of make it to the finish.
So at the beginning I think we were saving a lot of fuel, trying to make it, and I think we were doing it probably a lot further than Will and certainly a lot further than Paul, which apparently was struggling, and he was just making a mistake, falling back and then coming back, and it was just tough as a result because he wasn't saving as much fuel and he was being aggressive when he was coming back on us.
At some point I made a small mistake in the first chicane, and it wasn't my time to try and contest him because he made it around on the outside and it was just too risky. So I just set him around. And then we never knew if I was going to make it or not because the yellow came out. And during that yellow, during the pit stop, Paul ruined Will's race, because at that point Will's car was damaged. And on the restart he wasn't as quick as he had been the race before.
And I tried to take off time. Wasn't quite close enough. But coming after the second chicane, I had a very good run. I pushed it past and made the move on him and he squeezed me just a little bit and I don't know what happened, but the car started to burn really, really hard over the bumps in the middle of the track, and as soon as I touched the brakes, the right front locked and I was never going to stop the car.
So I just bailed out. And unfortunately Will either thought I was going to make the corner or I don't know what. He turned and we made a small contact, which had no incident on my car but apparently damaged his.
And my race was ruined from there on because we had to make it on the three-stop, and you know it was just going downhill from there.
Later in the race, when we were still in it because we, decided to pit me as soon as the window opened in order to pick up some positions up, we received a penalty after that, so that really wrapped our race.
And then in the last lap I let Bruno go and tried to set the best lap and it didn't work out either, because I locked up the wheel being like a second faster than what I had been doing the whole race. So that was going to be a 33 or 32.9 or 8 or something at that point which was pretty quick, but no matter what, nothing was working today and I went straight in the SK in turn 8 and that just made for a complete, you know, disappointment for that day.
But in the meantime, we have to stay positive because it's probably, you know, it's definitely a historical day for the series, for the team and for me.
I think when I first came in 2003 never would have thought I was going to be part of that kind of dream, and I have to extend a very special thank you to Carl, Paul, Bernie and the whole team because they've been awesome and without them I would certainly not be there in front of you guys.
ERIC MAUK: Tell us a little bit about what went through your head as soon as the team came on and told you about A.J.'s problems?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Actually, I told them, because A.J. was stopped on the racetrack, and you know I completely understood what was going on from there on. Once I saw him stop on the racetrack, I knew the championship wasn't, and I went on the radio and said, "Let's go racing now," because we've been holding back all the time and making sure not to get into any kind of trouble. I went and I tried and it didn't work.
ERIC MAUK: Every race seemingly we do this, as you've been on the podium 34 times in your 58 starts here, we talk about, as each win goes on and the list of guys that you joined company with, that grace the series, but now you've always been very humble about it, taken it in stride. But now think about it and tell us what you think about -- you join Ted Horn as the only guys ever to win three consecutive titles. Two guys have done this in the 99 years since we've been doing this series.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I might sound a little arrogant saying it, but I think it's never been done before. Back in '46, '47 and '48 it was completely different format, and back then the competition was so different, it's very difficult to compare. I think to me the real years start in '79 when this whole thing started and there was no dirt involved anymore and, you know, it's just a great feeling.
Also I got my first win on an oval this year, on a real oval, in Milwaukee, and it was a very high of the season. Was again, you know, very much due to the efforts of the team. And it just made for a complete season.
And it's tough to come back over all that's been done in the last three years, but there's so much we could say that I'm just going to leave it as these three, I guess.
ERIC MAUK: Ladies and gentlemen, your 2006 Bridgestone Presents a Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford Champion, Sebastien Bourdais. (Applause)

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