Miami - France's Sebastien Bourdais won the IndyCar
season-opener at St. Petersburg, Florida, for the second straight year, seizing
the triumph as the race leaders crashed on the penultimate lap.
For Bourdais, 39, it was a 37th IndyCar triumph, but his
first since his horrific accident at the Indianapolis 500 last May, when he
suffered hip and pelvic fractures that sidelined him until last August, when he
returned for the last three races of the season.
Bourdais crossed the line in his Dale Coyne Racing car ahead
of American's Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan and Andretti's Alexander
Canadian pole-sitter Robert Wickens, trying to become the
first driver to win an IndyCar race in his debut since Buzz Calkins in 1996,
led a race-high 69 laps. He was in front for a lap 108 restart after a
full-course caution, but on the restart Rossi tried to pass him on the inside
going into turn one, slid wide and hit him.
Wickens' car was disabled. Rossi continued, but Bourdais
inherited the victory and Rahal also sneaked through.
James Hinchcliffe, Wickens' team-mate at Schmidt Peterson
Motorsports, finished fourth. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Rossi's Andretti Autosport team-mate,
American Josef Newgarden, winner of the 2017 series title,