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Bourdais “Gave it Everything” in Early Race Recovery Drive

Sebastien Bourdais describes run-in with Porsche that set up comeback drive to lead…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Sebastien Bourdais thought his chances of victory were over when he lost more than 20 seconds in the Hairpin in the opening stages of Saturday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The Frenchman and co-driver Renger van der Zande claimed a commanding victory in the third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, rebounding from the early incident that took the No. 01 Cadillac DPi-V.R out of the lead.

Bourdais mounted an impressive recovery drive in his stint, retaking the lead from the sister No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac of Alex Lynn just 24 laps after an incident with a Porsche 911 GT3 R, all while under green flag conditions.

“It was a little bit more complicated than it should have been,” Bourdais said post-race.

“It was an amazing weekend for the 01 Cadillac Ganassi. It was just a magical car in qualifying.

“Everything seemed to be under control. I had a good start and Alex was following along and we pulled away and were making the fuel number.

“I was like, ‘OK, we’ve got this’ and then we started to hit traffic.

“I got down the inside of the Hairpin of the Porsche and for whatever reason he kind of drifted a bit to the right and put me quite a bit more than I wanted to be on the inside of the Hairpin.

“It should have been fine. But for one reason or another… the front just basically took off and although I was going pretty slow, I didn’t even make the corner whatsoever.

“I kept slowing down and it still wouldn’t turn. It was really strange. I ended up stopping a little bit in the wall, making a little bit of damage in the front splitter but not too bad.

“Most importantly I had to back up, which lost us time. Finding reverse and it stalled… It was a bit of a disaster.

“Peter [Baron, strategist] told me we were 20-something seconds behind and at that point, I wasn’t giving myself any hopes of filling that gap and then being able to pass.

“But really rapidly, the pace the 01 Cadillac had made up for the difference and we caught up to the tail of the lead pack and started passing people.

“I could be super aggressive in traffic because the car was that good. From there, everyone saw what happened.”

Bourdais credited the pace of the Cadillac for being able to retake the lead and ultimately claiming his first DPi with with the team.

“It takes wonderful car and a car that has the pace and gives you enough confidence to be able to push it and to go in those kind of limits,” he said.

“If you don’t have to, you don’t expose yourself but at that point it really didn’t matter because we were last and 20 seconds behind.

“It was [either] send it or stay sixth and cry over our lost win.

“I just gave it everything. I don’t think I breathed very much for the next 30 laps or so.”

The win came after a challenging start to the season for the No. 01 car that was plagued with mechanical issues in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Van der Zande said: “We had some DNFs and failures in the first two races. The only way to move up from here is to win races.

“That’s what we did today.

“Our engineer John Hennek… It’s very funny as he’s always worried that his car is not fast enough that he always has the fastest car.

“The car was amazing today. I never had a car in Long Beach like this. We could hit any curb, steer in and go on power. It was all in control.

“It’s an amazing feeling and amazing to see ‘angry Seb’ because you can’t really pass on this track. I don’t know how he did it.

“He gave it [to me] in the lead. I wouldn’t say it was easy but to control a race is kind of easy. I had good restarts and we brought it home for victory.”

The win has provisionally moved van der Zande and Bourdais to within 100 points of the championship lead.

“It’s a long season luckily,” said the Dutchman. “We’re quite down on points but pole position was a few points, winning was a few points. We’re not going to give up for the championship.

“To win the championship is winning races.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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