By ROB HAMILTON
Last year, Sebastien Bourdais finished second in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This year, having his best season in IndyCar, he is hoping to pick up his third win of 2015 at the Morrow County race track.
Bourdais is currently sixth in the points standings. His 366 points puts him within 31 of third place, though, giving him hopes of having a memorable year. In fact, in his second year with KVSH Racing, the 36-year-old already considers this year a success. He finished 10th last year and 12th in 2013 after being in the 20s the previous two years.
“We restarted from scratch last year and did good work,” he said. “Chevy is giving us great engines and it’s all coming together this year. Now, we’re really close to the podium for the championship. Regardless of what happens, mission accomplished. What we wanted to do was be more consistent because our weakness last year was doing it week-in and week-out.”
He added that moving from one team to another creates an adjustment period for getting everything ready for good performances on the track.
“Really, last year was just the beginning of the relationship and it’s tough,” he explained. “Sometimes you get the right set-ups and sometimes you don’t. With one year under our belt, we’re able to get rid of what didn’t work.”
While he has three top-10 finishes in four years at Mid-Ohio, Bourdais didn’t feel he ran particularly well there until last year’s runner-up finish.
“Believe it or not, it’s not a place that’s been very good for me,” he said. “Last year was the first time I visited the press conference room.”
Like many other drivers have said, Bourdais noted that qualifying is arguably the most important part of the race at Mid-Ohio.
“I think we did understand a few things along the way,” he said. “Things really worked out in qualifying, which was good because it’s a very difficult place to pass. We put ourselves in position to compete for the win. We had a decent pace, but not strong enough to keep up with Scott (Dixon) at the end. Either the car’s got it or it doesn’t.”
When it comes to the actual racing, Bourdais mentioned that the early portion of the track is the best for making moves.
“The one main passing area is at turn three to the back stretch,” he said. “And also when braking to turn two. You have to be strong in that first section.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS