Love blossoms at the Lexmark Indy 300 2006 Lexmark Indy 300 winner Nelson Philippe today returned to where he has enjoyed the pinnacle moment of his motorsport career, making a fly-by visit to the Surfers Paradise Beach this morning.
While the Frenchman’s emphatic victory on the Gold Coast caused a sensation in the Champ Car World Series ranks, as the 20 year-old secured his maiden checkered flag, his victory also ensured the trend of no driver winning the Australian event twice in its 16-year history also continued.
But it appears the whirlwind surrounding Philippe’s success has also stirred up emotions of another kind and that was clearly evidenced this morning.
Joining Philippe for a leisurely stroll along one of Australia’s most famous coastlines was reigning Bartercard Miss Indy Sarah Buller.
Philippe explaining the podium presentation during last year’s Lexmark Indy 300 marked just the start of bigger and better things to come, which has now also provided added incentive for the young driver to defend his title when the event returns to the streets of Surfers Paradise on October 18-21.
“Sarah and I struck up an immediate friendship following the volleyball game last year, had a great night after the event and have been crazy about each other ever since,” explained Philippe.
“With Sarah’s commitments with the Bartercard Miss Indy it was easier for her to move over from Perth and that means I’ll be coming back to Queensland quite regularly during the year.
“I don’t know what it is, the sun, the sand, the surf, I love the Gold Coast and I can’t wait to get back here and defend my Lexmark Indy 300 title.
“There are a few things to work out before then, but for the moment today has brought back a flood of great memories.”
Today’s casual rendezvous was also most welcome from Sarah’s perspective as momentum is already building towards the 2007 Lexmark Indy 300.
Likewise, her own commitments as part of the greater promotion of the event and developing support for the Bartercard Miss Indy has her on a very tight schedule.
“It’s just been one thing after another between corporate functions, autograph signings, media and modeling commitments but at the same time it is a great honor being able to represent the event as the 2007 Bartercard Miss Indy,” said Buller.
“Down time is a rarity and it’s great that Nelson has been able to come to Australia for a few days as I’m sure the rest of the year will continue to be full on.
“It’s a win-win all round. I’m really enjoying the move to the Gold Coast and this is a very special place for both of us.”
Nelson and Sarah’s relationship continues a trend which was started by Canadian driver Alex Tagliani and his now wife Bronte, who was the 2002 Bartercard Miss Indy.
Philippe is currently in negotiations with Champ Car teams in the hope of sealing a deal before the Champ Car World Series opening round at Las Vegas on April 6-8.