Bourdais wins, Legge impresses

Two-time defending champion Sebastien Bourdais got off to the best-possible start in the Champ Car World Series opener at Long Beach yesterday, taking his Newman Haas Lola Cosworth to a 14.096s victory over Justin Wilson's similar CDW RuSPORT car.

Bourdais led 70 of the 74 laps and set fastest lap. The success, his 17th, puts the Frenchman on course to match Ted Horn's unique feat of three consecutive Champ Car titles.

Alex Tagliani completed the podium in his Team Australia Lola, after an accident in the first corner on the opening lap eliminated challengers Paul Tracy, A.J. Allmendinger, Oriol Servia and Bourdais' team-mate Bruno Junqueira, who was making his return to the series.

Briton Katherine Legge brought her PKV Racing Lola home eighth on her series debut, marking the highest-ever Champ Car finish for a female driver. The previous best was a ninth place by Janet Guthrie. Fellow countryman Dan Clarke, on his debut, crashed after 13 laps.

Mario Dominguez took fourth ahead of former champion Cristiano da Matta and Andrew Ranger. Rookies Jan Heylen (who led one lap during pit stops), Legge, Will Power and F1 refugee Antonio Pizzonia completed the top 10.

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