Bourdais snatches victory on streets of St. Petersburg

Sebastien Bourdais celebrates his win in the 2018 IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (IndyCar - Chris Owens).

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Sebastien Bourdais has won the season-opening race in St. Petersburg — a victory handed to him when Alexander Rossi and Robert Wickens crashed racing for the lead. Wickens was heading to a victory in his IndyCar debut until two late cautions gave Rossi a chance to take it away.

On a restart with two laps remaining, Rossi tried to dive inside of Wickens entering the first turn. The two cars made contact and Wickens spun off course.

Bourdais slid by both cars from third for the victory.

The first race of the season got off to a messy start with two spins on the opening lap, and IndyCar reviewed three incidents in the first nine laps of Sunday’s race. No drivers were penalized in the series of sloppy errors.

Will Power spun in the second turn as he raced rookie Robert Wickens for the lead. Although the Canadian is new to IndyCar, Wickens is a 28-year-old star who left the DTM touring series to race in the American open-wheel series.

Wickens is just the third driver since 1993 to win the pole in his series debut.

After the Power spin, Tony Kanaan spun in an incident with Zach Veach that was reviewed. Ryan Hunter-Reay also had to go immediately to pit road when his car wouldn’t accelerate at the start of the race.

Helio Castroneves gave the command to start the engines while partially hanging off one of the fences. The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner is known for climbing fences “Spiderman” style after victories.

Scott Dixon has been penalized for running into the back of Takuma Sato’s car in Sunday’s race.

Dixon was sent to the rear of the 24-car field for what IndyCar deemed “avoidable contact.” He restarted the race 21st.

 

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