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Junqueira replaces Newgarden at Baltimore
29 August 2012
Brazil's Bruno Junqueira is making an unexpected short-notice return to the IZOD IndyCar Series this weekend for the Grand Prix of Baltimore, where he will take the wheel of the #67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car.
Junqueira will be substituting for rookie Josef Newgarden, who injured his hand in a violent two-car crash with Sebastien Bourdais during last weekend's race at Sonoma Raceway.
"I am very happy to be back in IndyCar with SFHR for the Baltimore race weekend," said Junqueira. "Sarah's team is very organised and has been fast all season. They have done a great job with Josef and I hope to give them a good race weekend in Baltimore while Josef is healing."
"I'm really disappointed to not be in the car this weekend but I know Bruno will do a great job for SFHR," said Newgarden. "I'll be in Baltimore helping Bruno and the team in any way I can."
During lap 63 of the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sunday, Bourdais lost grip on cold tyres as he ran wide onto the marbles out of the turn seven hairpin while trying to pass Josef Newgarden, who was a lap down. Bourdais found himself unable to make the next corner at turn 8, ran onto the dirt and rejoined the track into the side of Newgarden, sending both cars off into a violent impact with the tyre wall on the other side of the track.
"Unfortunately Bourdais came right across the track and I had nowhere to go," Newgarden said immediately after the accident. "I kept my hands on the wheel because it happened so fast and that's when my finger got hurt. It's the hardest hit I've ever had."
Newgarden underwent surgery for the injury to a broken left index finger on Monday. The team is hopeful that he will recover in time to return to action for the final race of the 2012 at Auto Club Speedway on September 15: Newgarden said that he was now "focusing on healing for Fontana" after being forced to step aside for Junqueira.
"We look forward to a healthy and speedy recovery for Josef," said team boss Sarah Fisher. "I know Josef is disappointed in the circumstances, as we all are, but this team is being built around him and his seat will be ready for him when he's ready."
In opting for the 35-year-old Brazilian, Fisher is exchanging her youthful rookie star for one of the most experienced active IndyCar racers not to currently have a regular ride in the series.
Junqueira competed in seven seasons of the CART Champ Car World Series, starting in 2001 driving for two years with Chip Ganassi Racing, then four years with Newman/Haas Racing before a final outing with Dale Coyne Racing in 2007.
After leaving full-time US open wheel racing he was still a regular entry for the Indianapolis 500, and twice qualified a car onto the 33-car starting grid for the race only to be asked to step aside for regular series drivers who had failed to make the cut on Bump Day (Alex Tagliani in 2009, and Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2011.)
Junqueira has also competed in Formula 3000 and A1GP, and is currently a full-time competitor in the Prototype Challenge class in the American Le Mans Series with RSR Racing, which saw him win pole position for this year's Sebring 12 Hours in March.
"It is lucky that we were able to call on Bruno for this weekend's race," said team co-owner Sarah Fisher. "He has had great results prior to climbing into the #67 car, and I hope we can give him the right platform to bring home a solid finish this weekend in Baltimore."
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