Justin Wilson scored his first win of the season and the fourth of his Champ Car career in front of an estimated 61,200 fans at Assen this afternoon.The RuSPORT driver beat pole-sitter Sebastien Bourdais away from the grid, and though the Frenchman overtook the Briton down the back straight on that opening lap, a software glitch in the Power-to-Pass system caused the pitlane speed limiter to kick in, and Bourdais dropped to fifth while he fumbled to disengage it.
Wilson’s main opposition came from Neel Jani – who then appeared to have suffered the same issue as Bourdais – and then Jan Heylen. The Belgian made startling progress in the early stages of the race and was threatening Wilson right up until the final pitstops.
Once Justin had his fuel consumption looking more positive, he was able to stretch the gap over Jan to put him out of range in the braking zones.
Given that all teams were instructed to cease using Power to Pass once the glitch was established, it became harder than ever to overtake on a circuit that was already regarded as too narrow and quick to encourage a lot of passing.
Bruno Junqueira was also a contender for victory – as in Zolder last week – but finished third. The Dale Coyne Racing driver was forced into an alternative strategy when he dropped to the back of the field when he hit a spinning Paul Tracy on lap one.
The Brazilian then picked up a puncture in his front right tyre some laps later and had to pit out of sequence. However, on his way into the pits the next time, Junqueira’s two-stage pit limiter dropped him to 40mph in the 75mph zone, dropping him to fourth behind Wilson, Heylen, and Tristan Gommendy of PKV Racing. He re-passed the latter soon afterwards, however.
Jani was fifth, ahead of Simon Pagenaud, while Bourdais spent most of the race catching back up from stalling in a pitstop, something that Will Power also did.
Local hero Robert Doornbos had to make a last-dash pitstop when the 1hour45minute race lasted one lap longer than Minardi expected. He wound up a disappointed 13th.