Gommendy shows his pace

Tristan Gommendy wanted to be a Formula 1 driver when he was growing up but with money very hard to find in France it was not not easy. He shot to prominence in 2002 by winning the French Formula 3 title and the Macau Grand Prix in 2002 but then did not have the backing to get beyond the Renault World Series until last year when he found the money to do a handful of GP2 races. At 28 he was then forced to recognise that probably he was going to miss out on F1 unless he could make a big impression on the international scene and so signed to drive for PKV in the Champ Car World Series. At Long Beach he gave a hint that he is going to be a contender. He found himself at the front of the pack in Long Beach when the adopted a different strategy to everyone else but he then stayed ahead, despite having much more experienced Sebastien Bourdais right behind him for 13 laps before the team had to face up to the fact that the strategy had failed and so he dropped back to 11th when he had to stop.

He is, however, a man worth watching in the US series this year.

The series has struggled to find big names and has relied heavily on Paul Tracy. At Long Beach, however, Tracy crashed heavily in qualifying and suffered a compression fracture of one of his vertebrae. It is likely that he will be out of action for some weeks. This means he is unlikely to be able to challenge for the title.

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