Paddock postcard from Montreal 12 Jun 2005
A glimpse at who's who at this weekend's race
No city hums the way that Montreal does when the Grand Prix comes to town. Business at Jacques Villeneuves Crescent Street restaurant, Newtown, has been booming all week, and its the same for all the other myriad eateries.
In the paddock visiting racing faces included Canadian CART racer Alex Tagliani and his Australian wife Bronte Kok; Indy 500 winner, CART champ, team owner and former Jaguar team principal Bobby Rahal; CART team owner Carl Haas and upcoming CART star Andrew Ranger, who visited Jordan.
From other disciplines, ice hockey stars Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Tie Domi (Toronto Maples Leaves) joined the sports greatest paddock fan, Jordan owner Alex Shnaider, at the happening W Hotel in downtown Montreal. Registering his dissatisfaction with events in the hockey world, the Jordans bore the legend Bring Back Hockey encouraging the NHL to sort its current problems and run the league again.
Other celebs included former British glamour icon Sam Fox and her partner Sonia Benezra; director Denys Arcand; singer Ima; actor Junirs; Canadian Idols Audrey de Montigny; and NHL star Martin Brodeur.
In the support races, Kevin Lacroix won the first Formula BMW encounter from Jonathan Summerton and Robert Wickens, while Rafael Matos won again in the Star Mazda Championship.
The drive of that race, however, came from Graham Rahal, son of Bobby. In only his second season of car racing the 16 year-old hung tough going into the first corner to snatch second place after qualifying third, fought back after being deposed by Robbie Percorari, and made a serious impression by finishing only 2.775s behind Matos after fighting his way through momentum-sapping traffic in the closing laps.
Matos, it should be said, drove with the polish one would expect of a guy in his third year in the series, but Rahal matched him all the way and has clearly inherited Dads racing genes. Another son of a famous father, Michael Andrettis kid Marco, finished fifth and set the fastest lap.