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Power wins chaotic opener in Brazil

14 March 2010

Will Power made the perfect return to action in the IndyCar Series with victory in a chaotic season-opener on the streets of Sao Paulo.

Power, who missed the end of the 2009 season following an accident in practice for the Motorola Indy 300 at Infineon Raceway, saw off the challenge of Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay to secure victory for Penske, while the Brazilian crowd was given reason to cheer as Vitor Meira took third for AJ Foyt Enterprises.

Victory for Power came after a race that saw multiple incidents on track and a torrential rain shower that caused the race to be red-flagged for more than half an hour – leading to the race going to its two-hour time limit.

Power had started from fifth on the grid for the race but had climbed up to second place when the race was stopped due to the torrential rain which enveloped the circuit. The Australian elected to gamble on putting dry tyres on prior to the restart which dropped him down the order, but he followed Hunter-Reay in climbing back up the order as the pair ran behind Ryan Briscoe on track.

When Briscoe slid into the wall and brought out a full course caution, Hunter-Reay moved into the lead but with the clock ticking down, Power made his move at turn eleven to secure the race lead and second career IndyCar victory.

"It was a fantastic day," Power said. "Coming back after breaking my back and to win, I was crying on the slow-down lap. We had a quick car and when they said I could run full rich, I just went for it. It was good, very good. It was probably the most mixed-up race that I have ever been in, but it created an opportunity for me to come back through the field and end up winning the race. I'm pretty sure it was an exciting race for the fans."

Hunter-Reay was forced to settle for second place, while Meira took third place as he too made a strong start to 2010 – seeking to erase the memory of the incident at Indianapolis which brought his 2009 campaign to an early end.

Raphel Matos took fourth place for the newly named de Ferran Luczo Dragon Racing team – giving the 2009 rookie of the year his best result to date – while Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon completed the top six. Dixon's sixth place finish came despite an incident at the start which saw him tipped into a spin by debutant Takuma Sato – who was forced to retire – while Helio Castroneves was also involved in the shunt but resumed to finish inside the top ten.

Poleman Dario Franchitti had to settle for seventh, with Mike Conway, Castroneves and Tony Kanaan completing the top ten.

Sato, Castroneves and Dixon weren't the only drivers involved in drama at the start, with Mario Moraes running into the rear of Marco Andretti and ending up on top of the Andretti Autosport car. Andretti was understandably far from impressed with the move.

“I think if you have any common sense, you're not going to stay flat out if you can't see the car ahead of you,” he said. “I don't know, I got hit from behind."


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