14 July 2013
Dixon beats Bourdais to Toronto race 1, Franchitti reprieved
Before Power could pressure Bourdais into letting him through, lap 65 saw the second full course caution of the race triggered by Charlie Kimball being punted into the tyre wall at turn 5 by contact with Justin Wilson, who received a drive-thru penalty for causing the accident by trying for an inside line that simply was never on.
"Things were going well and I went to pass him and I was alongside before the brake zone and when I hit the brakes I thought it was going to be an easy pass," said Wilson of the incident. "But I didn't realize that he was taking a short cut across the inside of the corner and he started turning. That was a bit frustrating."
Ryan Briscoe was also caught up in the incident and had injured his wrist, calling for an ice pack to apply to his right hand as he was checked out by the medical team. After the race finished, he was dispatched to hospital for X-rays where it was confirmed that he had suffered a broken wrist that would rule him out of Sunday's race 2 as well as next weekend's American Le Mans Series race at Mosport, where he was due to drive again for Level 5 Motorsports in the LMP2 class after success last weekend at Lime Rock.
“All of us at Panther Racing hate to see this happen to Ryan, but we've spoken with Dr Terry Trammel [IndyCar's orthopaedic consultant] and the quick recovery time for this type of injury is very encouraging,” said Panther Racing managing partner John Barnes. "We all wish Ryan a very speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back in the National Guard car very soon."
Bourdais leapt to the front at the restart on lap 71 to Dixon's intense displeasure, the Kiwi convinced that the Frenchman had jumped a tardy green from the flag stand, although race control reviewed it and gave Bourdais' move the all-clear. Bourdais also had the advantage of the red-walled soft option tyres for this early part of the final stint, unlike the six cars behind him (Dixon, Franchitti, Power, Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan) all of whom were on the harder black-walled 'prime' compound. But just as the first phase of the race had shown, that edge would prove short-lived and on lap 77 Dixon was able to make the pass in the run down to turn 3 to retake the top spot from Bourdais with eight to go, leaving the Dragon driver now working hard to stop Franchitti in the second Ganassi car following Dixon's example in the remaining laps.
Hunter-Reay's hopes of charging back into the top ten from his earlier dual pit lane stalls ended in contact with the tyres at turn 3 while trying to outbrake his team mate EJ Viso. The damage was limited to a brief local yellow while Hunter-Reay was got back on his way, albeit back down in 18th again after all his earlier hard work. However a few minutes later a full course caution did materialise, when Alex Tagliani's #98 was left in the middle of the track in turns 1 and 2 after spinning while battling for position with Simon Pagenaud. With just minutes remaining in the race, this set up a cliffhanger restart and one-lap sprint finish.
Dixon took no chances when the green came out and was well away down the start/finish straight before Bourdais could even think about pulling anything; but Franchitti wasn't as fortunate behind them and got caught up in a tussle for third place with Will Power, only for Power to end up repeating his ambitious late-braking into turn 3 which this time put him into the tyres as the top three raced on to the chequered flag. Power clearly blamed Franchitti for the incident, telling the media afterwards that "Me and Dario just don't like turn 3," harking back to their infamous spat here in the 2011 Toronto crash-fest.
Franchitti took a less than humorous view of Power's complaints, telling reporters after the race that "It's always somebody's fault with Will." But in this case, race control agreed with the Penske driver and Franchitti was practically yanked off the third step of the podium after being handed a 25-second penalty for causing the collision with Power, handing third spot to Marco Andretti and dropping Franchitti himself down to 13th spot.
"He chose a line, he couldn't stop. I just don't get it," fumed Franchitti. "There's a lot of frustrations with IndyCar and this says a lot," he added as he and the Ganassi team stormed off to argue an appeal with race control. When they emerged they were considerably happier with the state of affairs, the penalty rescinded and Dario reinstated to third place after all.
"I was defending," explained Franchitti. "I went to the outside, and he went to the inside when there was only a half a car length" he said, pointing out that everyone had been driving the corner in exactly the same way without issue all afternoon.
Tagged as: Ganassi , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Dario Franchitti , Ryan Briscoe , Scott Dixon , EJ Viso , Justin Wilson , Toronto , Will Power , Charlie Kimball , Mike Conway , Alex Tagliani , Sébastien Bourdais , Simon Pagenaud , race 1
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