MEXICO CITY – Sebastien Bourdais won the Mexico Grand Prix in the Champ Car season finale Sunday, completing a fourth straight championship year before heading to Formula One.
Despite a penalty and a yellow flag that erased most of his late-race lead, Bourdais held off pole-sitter Will Power for his 31st career victory in 73 career starts. Oriol Servia finished third.
Bourdais is leaving the Newman-Haas-Lanigan team to drive for Scuderia Toro Rosso in Formula One.
Power led the first 23 laps before Bourdais surged past him with a burst of push-to-pass power, which had been restricted because of a penalty for a practice violation.
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Justin Wilson finished 10th and ended the season second to Bourdais, just like last year. Rookie Robert Doornbos trailed Wilson by eight points, but missed most of the early race with mechanical problems.
Minardi Team USA had disastrous end to the season because of problems with the standing start of the race.
Dan Clark failed to complete the first lap, and Doornbos dropped out after three laps, missing about half the race before he was able to limp back onto the track.
Bourdais and teammate Graham Rahal were handed a “significant penalty” immediately before Sunday’s race.
The two drivers spun their tires during the standing start practice in the pit lane ahead of the race, laying down rubber that could have helped them get traction coming out of pit stops, series spokesman David Higdon said.
Race director Tony Cotman stripped each of 22 seconds of the push-to-pass power that drivers are given for the race. Drivers in Mexico had been given 75 seconds of added 100-horsepower bursts to use during the race.
Drivers were given 60 seconds of 50 horsepower boosts at earlier races. The cars’ Cosworth engines produce about 750 horsepower without the boosts.