Bourdais snatches victory on streets of St. Petersburg
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on IndyCar’s season-opening race in St. Petersburg (all times EST):
Sebastien Bourdais has won the season-opening race in St. Petersburg — a victory handed to him when Alexander Rossi and Robert Wickens crashed racing for the lead. Wickens was heading to a victory in his IndyCar debut until two late cautions gave Rossi a chance to take it away.
On a restart with two laps remaining, Rossi tried to dive inside of Wickens entering the first turn. The two cars made contact and Wickens spun off course.
Bourdais slid by both cars from third for the victory.
Scott Dixon has been penalized for running into the back of Takuma Sato’s car in Sunday’s race.
Dixon was sent to the rear of the 24-car field for what IndyCar deemed “avoidable contact.” He restarted the race 21st.
Canadian driver Robert Wickens leads the race after 45 of the 110-laps. Wickens is one of seven rookies in the 24-driver field but is actually a star in the European touring series he left to try America’s open-wheel series. He was coaxed into IndyCar by longtime friend James Hinchcliffe and the two comprise an all-Canadian lineup at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
The first race of the IndyCar season is off to a messy start on the streets of St. Petersburg.
There were two spins on the opening lap, and IndyCar reviewed three incidents in the first nine laps of Sunday’s race. No drivers were penalized in the series of sloppy errors.
Will Power spun in the second turn as he raced rookie Robert Wickens for the lead. Although the Canadian is new to IndyCar, Wickens is a 28-year-old star who left the DTM touring series to race in the American open-wheel series.
Wickens is just the third driver since 1993 to win the pole in his series debut.
After the Power spin, Tony Kanaan spun in an incident with Zach Veach that was reviewed. Ryan Hunter-Reay also had to go immediately to pit road when his car wouldn’t accelerate at the start of the race.
Helio Castroneves gave the command to start the engines while partially hanging off one of the fences. The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner is known for climbing fences “Spiderman” style after victories.