By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
PORTLAND, Oregon — Fast pace often comes with a heavy price, but with a whole team collaborating a misfortune, results will show, even if it has a “Frankenstein” look.
This was the case for two-time Portland Grand Prix winner Sebastien Bourdais, who will start fourth in Sunday’s race at Portland International Raceway after the entire entity of Dale Coyne Racing repaired his car after a session-ending crash during final practice.
Thanks in most part of having the third entry of Santino Ferrucci, it turned out that having them was a difference maker in getting that car miraculously fixed, and went out to qualify in a “Frankenstein” machine with parts of the body displaying the traditional SealMaster colors, where he was third in his group in round one, third in the second round to advance into the Firestone Fast Six, and coming up over half-a-second shy of outpacing pole sitter Will Power.
“I was thinking about the fact that we have three cars. Had we not have three crews, I’m not sure if we would’ve gotten that thing back together,” Bourdais said.
“I got to thank Santino for joining us this weekend, but overall just an incredible effort from the guys to recover from my mistake. Honestly, when I got out of the car, I wasn’t sure how that thing was going to get fixed, and yet, they just did an awesome job and it was very impressive.”
In response to thanking Ferrucci, Bourdais said he was both joking, but serious at the same time as he’ll run the final two rounds of the Verizon IndyCar Series calendar.
“We have three crew of mechanics here instead of our usual two,” Bourdais said. “The workload was so extensive that those extra guys definitely helped us fixed the car.”
Bourdais was quickest in Friday’s morning session and final practice. In the final minutes however, his No. 18 Gorilla Automotive Products Honda snapped at the fastest part of the circuit, and slammed into the tire barriers at Turn 11. He was able to get out of the car, but the rear end of the car was crumpled, and the crew went into work immediately.
Once repaired, the former winner of the 1.964-mile circuit felt that his newly repaired car was much better than any the sessions this weekend.
“It may have looked like a Frankenstein car, but it was just about as good as it was in the morning. I was really pleased with everything,” Bourdais said. “I kind of made a mistake in Q3 in that one lap, but nonetheless it’s an awesome result given the circumstances.”
Bourdais has the opportunity of tying Michael Andretti and Al Unser, Jr. for the most wins at Portland with three Sunday, which could all but seal a top-10 in the championship standings.