Doornbos goes from worst to first

Robert Doornbos of the Netherlands overcame a first-lap accident that damaged the front of his DP01 Champ Car and stormed back from last place to win the third annual San Jose Grand Prix at Redback Raceway Sunday on the streets of downtown San Jose.

“What a race, the car was great,” said Doornbos, who is a Champ Car rookie but hardly a novice. “We had so much bad luck all weekend.”

Doornbos, who qualified 15th in the 17-car field, displayed his considerable experience to make a difficult inside pass in Turn 1, using the final seconds he had remaining of his power to pass — 60 seconds of extra boost that creates an additional 50 horsepower each time used in the 750 horsepower Champ Cars — to complete the pass on Neel Jani for the lead on about the 96th of107 laps.

Doornbos made 11 Formula One starts the last two years, was third in the 2004 FIA International F3000 championship and was a test driver for three separate F1 programs from 2004-06. He entered Sunday’s race behind three-time reigning Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais by 20 points and cut that deficit in half when Bourdais finished fifth.

“I’m very happy to be racing here [America],” Doornbos said. “The team [Minardi Team USA] has been getting stronger every race.”

Jani, who is from Switzerland, finished second for Red Bull PKV Racing and Forsythe Racing’s Oriol Servia of Catalonia was third.

“It looked like at the end, we had on the wrong tires,” said Jani, who said the team opted to put on the red (alternate) softer compound tires and wound up sliding a lot at the end. “I’m happy to be on the podium. It’s definitely disappointing after leading so many laps.”

“All weekend long, we were strong,” said Servia, who joined the team in the fourth race of the season. “I thought we had the car to win. We had a problem with the [air] gun on a pitstop and it cost us two spots.

Jonathan Bomarito of Monterey dominated the Champ Car Atlantic Championship race, held just before the senior circuit Sunday. He started from the pole and never trailed during the 50-minute race for his second series win in the top rung of the Champ Car World Series ladder system.

While Bomarito was winning the battle for his Miracle Sealants/PR1 Racing team, Sierra Sierra Racing’s Raphael Matos was winning the war. The second-year Atlantic driver from Brazil wrapped up the season championship with one race to go and, with it, the $2 million prize to be used toward a Champ Car ride.

“This feels incredible,” said Bomarito of his second career Atlantic win. “I have so many friends and family here.”


Can Doornbos catch up to Bourdais?

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