Indy driver Sebastien Bourdais participates in a press conference held ahead of the Toronto Indy in Toronto, on Thursday, July 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Bourdais ‘glad’ to see English WCup loss quiet Brits at Toronto Indy

TORONTO — Max Chilton and Jordan King’s despair was Sebastien Bourdais’ delight.

As England’s dreams of making its first World Cup final since 1966 were dashed off the leg of Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic in the 109th minute of their semifinal match in Russia on Wednesday, the French IndyCar driver took pleasure in knowing that he wouldn’t have to listen to the British drivers discuss their “Three Lions” at the Toronto Indy.

“I’m kind of glad the English didn’t make it, because it would’ve been just all we would’ve talked about all weekend,” said Bourdais.

“So no offence, just kind of happy it’s not happening.”

The two-time Toronto Indy winner is hoping to catch part of final between France and Croatia before Sunday’s race as Les Bleus look to win their first World Cup title in 20 years.

“I think they’ve done the homework and it would be cool to see them get the win,” said Bourdais.

“They seem to quite deserve it.”

The 39-year-old driver has been keeping tabs on his country’s results by watching on his phone while juggling a busy schedule on the IndyCar series. He’s appreciative that a team loaded with stars — such as Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud — has bought into a team-first system.

“They have no issues playing for each other,” said Bourdais.

“Obviously, there are some individual world talents on the team, but they’ve definitely got no issues or ego to put themselves aside, if they’re boxed in like Mbappe in the last (match against Belgium).”

Chilton, who is in his third year on IndyCar series, and King, a rookie, were both still lamenting England’s loss and deflecting clumsy chirps from some of their American colleagues.

Chilton said some of the tech workers from his Carlin team left a few surprises on his Chevrolet.

“They stuck a piece of paper to the back of the car saying, ‘Unlucky. Better luck next year,” said Chilton.

“First of all, it’s every four years. So it’s not next year. They put the United Kingdom flag. I don’t think they quite understand Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England are four separate places.”

“They also put the Union Jack upside down,” he added with a smirk.

King, who’s from Warwick, said he’s still recovering and regretted being unable to enjoy England’s success with his countrymates across the pond.

“I’m just about getting over it. I’ve got another day to wipe away the tears, then I’ll be all right,” he said.

“In my lifetime, it was the best run we’ve had, and actually I was quite envious of my friends back home and being able to enjoy it at the pubs back home.”

Bourdais already knows the joy of seeing his country winning soccer’s most prestigious trophy.

He recalled watching an underdog French team outperform expectations through the early rounds on home soil in 1998, culminating in its only World Cup title.

“You really could see the group jelling and coming up with structures that worked extremely well,” said Bourdais

“Then you were like, ‘Man, they can actually maybe do this.”’

And he hopes to see a similar result unfold Sunday.

“That was just an unbelievable feeling,” said Bourdais.

“I remember the craziness on the streets. … There were a lot of people on top of cars’ roofs and hoods, and just like going crazy. Just so, so ecstatic about the win. Just some fond memories.”

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