23 July 2012
Castroneves wins caution-free Edmonton
"It's my second win here," quipped Castroneves afterwards. "Legitimate now!" he laughed, adding: "It's fantastic ... I think this place owed us a little bit."
For Helio, this was more than just a welcome return to victory lane for the second time in 2012, it was little short of redemption for a past wrong done to him. He's been runner-up here three times, and in 2010 thought he'd won the race only to find he'd been penalised for blocking through the final corner and dumped back down to 10th place, which saw the demonstrative Brazilian express his displeasure in the plainest possible way to the nearest IndyCar official he could (literally) lay his hands on.
But that was all in the past, after his victory today: and he wasted no time in climbing up the nearest catchfence he could find to deliver his trademark 'Spider-Man' celebration, to the delight of the crowd which - if it couldn't have a Canadian on victory lane - was happy to settle for one of the personable and excitable characters in the IndyCar paddock.
"He did a great job," said team owner Roger Penske. "It's a credit to the team, obviously when you see the competitive edge that's out there with Takuma and all of the other drivers. You can't make a mistake. The fuel economy was important. Today the Chevy engines ran great. I take my hat off to Helio. It was a tough race."
Sato himself said that he's really enjoyed his epic battle with Castroneves: "I would have enjoyed it a little more if I could overtake him, but you know we were not quite there. He did obviously, a great job, made no mistakes at all," he said. "I knew he had a little bit longer sequence of the push to pass. I used it bit by bit, but also he's reacting all the time the last few laps and he used every single straight."
The race had indeed ended up running all 75 laps without a single caution, and only two cars were listed as retiring: James Jakes exited just over halfway through with a broken damper on the left rear of the Dale Coyne Racing car, while Oriol Servia's Panther/DRR car suffered a mechanical problem in the pits which saw it struggle to get back underway which put him five laps down and ultimately led to retirement on lap 66.
Scott Dixon and Simon Pagenaud both suffered early intermittent problems with their Honda engines which fortunately cleared up with some pit lane attention."
"We had a problem at the start within the first five laps," explained Dixon, who managed to recover to tenth place despite the issues and his lowly starting position. "Whenever I went into the braking zones the engine would go into neutral. We had a little problem with the anti-stall function in practice, but then in the race it just kept doing it. That really hurt us especially because the race didn't have any yellows."
"We were missing a lot of straight-line speed," contributed Paganeud. "We probably had the best car in the infield portion, but it was frustrating because we were losing a lot of ground in the straights. With no yellow flags, we were kind of in a zone."
Pagenaud's race ended up in frustration in 20th place after he was run into by Charlie Kimball on the penultimate lap: "We we're hanging in there and still could have scored a 13th place if Kimball wouldn't have made a stupid move. He used me to make his corner. I'm very disappointed in that. It's not very smart."
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