Team Australia leads Triple Crown race
Champ Car teammates Will Power and Simon Pagenaud pulled off an amazing reversal of fortune when they turned a horrific beginning at the Champ Car Mont-Tremblant into a stunning finish to take the lead in the first-ever Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown team showdown.
With the Canadian team competition opening appropriately enough on Canada Day, Power and Pagenaud both stalled at the start of the Champ Car Mont-Tremblant, effectively beginning the race dead last. The Team Australia duo were forced to rely on a restart by the Holmatro Safety Team, and slowly but surely worked their way through the pack to finish the race third (Power) and fourth (Pagenaud). The teammates average finish of 3.5 put them just ahead of Sebastian Bourdais and Graham Rahal (Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing), who finished second and seventh, respectively, for a 4.5 average finish. RSPORTS teammates Justin Wilson and Alex Tagliani round out the top three on the Triple Crown leaderboard with an average of 6.0 after finishing fifth and eighth.
“I’m just really glad that we’re the leaders of the Triple Crown, and I’m going to try with Will to stay ahead and do our best in Toronto next week,” Pagenaud said, referring to the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto, which will be held July 8. “I really enjoyed the race. We had a great race car, great strategy and we were able to catch up through good fuel mileage and a very good pace.”
The new Champ Car World Series team competition pits teams against each other over the three successive Canadian races, beginning today in Mont-Tremblant (July 1), continuing next week in Toronto (July 8) and concluding on July 22 at the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton. The standings for the Triple Crown are based on the combined average finish for each team.
Ironically, Power and Pagenaud were chosen by Champ Car to announce the new competition earlier this week in Montreal and Mont-Tremblant, and Power predicted that he would finish one spot ahead of his teammate. “A Champ Car Triple Crown competition in Canada will be a fun way to draw extra attention to this country’s three great events, and of course as drivers we’re all for anything that involves more competition against each other,” Power said on Wednesday, adding: “I know that I will be quite happy if Simon finishes exactly one spot behind me in all three races, and we share the podium each and every time.”
While Pagenaud just missed the podium, he led for five laps before settling for fourth. Power, meanwhile, ran as high as second before finishing on the podium for the third time this year, after starting the season as the winner in Las Vegas.
“How’s that for a great start to the Canadian Triple Crown,” said Champ Car President and CEO Steve Johnson. “The race was a fascinating showdown among several drivers and teams, and for the team sitting there stalled at the beginning to take the first leg of the Triple Crown is amazing.”
In keeping with the spirit of the “Triple Crown” concept, the top three teams averaging the best finishing position during the Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown events will receive Inuit Stone Carving representing their status as top three teams of the inaugural team competition. This type of stone carving is rooted in the ancient past of the native Canadian Inuit tribe. In addition to the traditional stone carving, the winning team also will be treated to an array of Canadian-themed rewards.
All three events of the Canadian Triple Crown will be broadcast live on Global in Canada and ESPN in the United States. The Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown will continue on Sunday, July 8 at 1:00 pm ET with the final leg airing at 3:00 pm ET on Sunday, July 22.