Scott Dixon doesn't trouble the podium in season opener

Sebastien Bourdais has won IndyCar's season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Robert Wickens had victory snatched away following contact with Alexander Rossi with two laps remaining in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Bourdais slid by both cars for the victory.

It was the 37th career victory for the Frenchman, who ranks sixth on IndyCar's all-time list. The #18 Dale Coyne Racing driver now trails Al Unser by just two wins for fifth spot on the list. The win was a milestone for him in his recovery from serious injuries suffered in a crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "I think we showed we had a vehicle that could qualify up front yesterday and we redeemed ourselves a little bit today..."

"I was really happy for Robert and I'm heartbroken for him", Bourdais said. "I can't quite put it into words".

For Bourdais, the spoils are the 37th victory of his Indy vehicle career, which ranks the four-time season champion sixth on the all-time list.

On a restart with two laps remaining, Rossi tried to dive inside of Wickens entering the first turn. Then the second late caution came and, well, it was a problem, as Rossi made contact with Wickens, leaving the rookie's vehicle wrecked and unable to continue. The two cars made contact and Wickens spun off course.

"It was all a little bit confusing because I was told on the radio we were going green, but they didn't turn the lights off the pace auto, so I didn't get the best restart I could have done". "I defended it a little bit, I told myself that if Alex wants to go there, go for it, but he's not going to make the corner".

"I gave him space around the outside".

"It's a shame. Everyone on the Lucas Oil team and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports did a fantastic job today".

"It would have been a fairy tale to finish that well, but sometimes it's just not meant to be", Wickens said.

Rossi's subsequent lost momentum allowed Sebastien Bourdais and Graham Rahal to sneak through into first and second.

It was...not the best day for Team Penske. "I want to kind of speak to the officials to see why they didn't turn the lights off the pace vehicle before we went green but I don't know".

For Bourdais, it's his second straight Gran Prix of St. Petersburg win.

Bourdais said he never considered not returning to racing. "Guess I'm glad I did continue".

The 19-year-old rookie qualified third, but he crashed on lap 28 and finished the day in last place. "I know not every weekend is going to be like this, but it was great to be fast and challenging for the race win". I broke late. I made the corner and then we had some contact, and obviously it put me into a spin into the wall. It's hard with theses cars with how much we're sliding around even on the racing line, so on the marbles it's hairy. When you're put in the marbles, it's hairy. "I feel bad because I feel like I could have won and he could have gotten second".

Three-time St. Petersburg victor Helio Castroneves, this year's grand marshal, gave the call for drivers to start their engines in what quickly became an eventful race on the shores of Tampa Bay.

Asked if he felt Race Control's "no call" on the clash between himself and Wickens was a vindication of his perspective on the shunt, Rossi replied: "Yeah, they made it very clear in the drivers meeting that the rule on blocking was that you can't move in reaction".

366 on-track passes, breaking the mark of 323 set in 2008.

Indycar driver Scott Dixon.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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