2 September 2013
Simon Pagenaud wins Baltimore wacky races
In fact Power wasn't the only target for Dixon's post-race fury, as the Kiwi directed a broadside at race control as well, and at race director Beaux Barfield in particular.
"The #15 should have received a penalty [for spinning us] and the #4 car passed us on a yellow," he complained. "Then [after the crash with Power] they wouldn't bring the car back [to pit lane]. Beaux needs to be fired, he was a complete idiot today."
In the meantime Rahal had managed to pass Bourdais and duly led at the next attempt at a restart on lap 57 which for the second time today ended up in a mass of cars stationary in turn 1, this time as a result of Bourdais locking up and turning late into the corner across the path of Servia. Bourdais had been tapped into a spin by the contact while Servia ended up in the outside tyres, leaving him to be collected by the traffic coming in behind him and forcing another full course caution. Rahal had maintained the lead through all this but was now forced to pit in order to change to the red-walled tyres for the first time in the race in compliance with IndyCar rules that requires cars to use both compounds during the race much as in F1. The stop dropped him down to ninth place for the restart.
Marco Andretti was duly handed the lead for the first time ahead of Tony Kanaan, with Pagenaud and Wilson in front of Bourdais and Castroneves in sixth ahead of Newgarden and Hinchcliffe. The restart on lap 60 was clean with Marco showing surprisingly good pace to pull away from a struggling Kanaan through turn 1, while Castroneves was called upon to serve a drive-thru penalty for hitting the Penske right front tyre changer Doug Snyder during his lap 41 pit stop which dropped him out of the top ten.
"I have to say sorry to Doug, I'm glad he seems to be all right," said Castroneves, who said that he'd never had an incident in which he'd hit a crewmember before. "It was very slippery in the pits and I just slid in. I'm not really sure what happened."
Pagenaud quickly passed Kanaan for second place and Justin Wilson was lining up to do the same when a new full course caution materialised, this time trigged when Wilson was spun around by slight contact from Bourdais at the turn 3 hairpin causing yet another track blockage, Rahal and Hinchcliffe the most seriously caught out by the resultant fracas.
The first restart attempt on lap 66 was waved off when Marco Andretti took off too soon, so the green finally came out with just nine laps remaining and everything to play for. Andretti held the lead into turn 1 but was clearly struggling on worn tyres and with the damage to his front wing, so that despite having no remaining push-to-pass overtaking boosts it was Pagenaud who soon out-braked him into turn 1 to take the lead at the start of lap 69. Bourdais quickly followed Pagenaud past Andretti and rapidly lined up his shot on his compatriot for the race lead when Pagenaud ran wide at turn 7, but Pagenaud was able to fend it off, the pair touched and Bourdais nearly ended up spinning into the tyres at turn 8 before just managing to gather it up and continue, albeit dropping two spots while he did so.
That allowed Newgarden to pop into second spot, and the youngster from Nashville tried to capitalise on his opportunity by closing the gap on the leader in the remaining laps only to find that it was too much to ask. Instead, Newgarden was forced to drop back and concentrate on successfully fending off Bourdais to the line.
"I really wanted to give Simon a run for his money there - I think we had the pace for him, we just had no brakes left," he explained. "Thanks to everyone as Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, they give me every opportunity to do this - I wouldn't be an IndyCar driver without them," he said, adding: "I'm happy to give them a second-place."
Meanwhile, Bourdais was left visibly frustrated at the way he'd been denied the win by that late-race robust defensive move from Pagenaud. "I will let people judge it," he said. "I have my own opinion. We're friends, but there are no friends on the track - I learned that the hard way."
Simona de Silvestro
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