Monday, April 30, 2007

Leader of the Pack?

Yeah, so it was mostly a way of getting television exposure and came largely due to the different pit strategy that PKV Racing employed. But rookie FrenchmanTristan Gommendy has now led the Long Beach and Houston Champ Car races.

And although I appreciate Robin Miller’s satirical nickname for the young paying driver, labeling the Frenchman as “Christian Comedy” largely due to his unknown abilities, could Robin have to change his tune?

At Long Beach Gommendy led 13 laps before having to pit for fuel, while his countryman the “Hamburglar” was unwilling to attempt passing for the lead, secure in the knowledge that Gommendy needed petrol.

In Houston, once again at the tail end of the race Gommendy found himself leading due to PKV Racing’s alternative pit strategy. At first it appeared that Gommendy would indeed try to stretch his fuel mileage, going the distance and possibly taking the win?

This caused Bourdais to “turn up the wick,” heavily attacking Gommendy for the lead of the race before backing off when it became apparent that Tristan couldn’t go the distance. And shortly thereafter, the camera’s panned onto Gommendy’s stricken Panoz.

The rookie Frenchman’s car had run out of fuel on track, yet it was impressive how Gommendy had once again held off his fastly superior countryman for the lead in only his third Champ Car race. Especially when it was revealed that Tristan wasn’t strong enough to man-handle the Panoz chassis around Laguna Seca during his initial pre-season outing.

In a post race interview, Gommendy claimed that there was 4 gallons of Methanol left in his tank when the car sputtered to a stop. (This still wouldn’t have been enough to complete the race…)

Could “Christian Comedy” get the last laugh?