CHAMPCAR/CART: Montreal: Rocketsports Racing race report

PASTORELLI EARNS PERSONAL AND TEAM BEST FINISH THIS SEASON IN MONTREAL MONTREAL, Canada (August 28, 2006) -- Nicky Pastorelli has had a difficult rookie Champ Car season, but things finally worked in his favor today in Montreal as he and the ...

PASTORELLI EARNS PERSONAL AND TEAM BEST FINISH THIS SEASON IN MONTREAL

MONTREAL, Canada (August 28, 2006) -- Nicky Pastorelli has had a difficult rookie Champ Car season, but things finally worked in his favor today in Montreal as he and the Rocketsports Racing team earned their best finish this season, while teammate Antonio Pizzonia put forth a great effort despite having a radio failure.

Pastorelli started 17th on the grid yesterday and moved up to the 15th spot before the red flag dropped putting a halt to the race, which ultimately was postponed until this morning due to heavy rains. On Lap 20 the #8 crew took advantage of an early caution period to make a pit stop for fuel. Staying out of trouble and running solid times allowed the rookie to move into the top-five by Lap 33. He sat as high P4 before making his final pit stop of the day on Lap 50 during another caution. He got out of the pits in the top five and things were looking pretty solid for a top-five finish as the race became a timed race, shortening the scheduled 72-lap distance.

Another yellow came out on Lap 64 for debris and on the final restart this afternoon on Lap 66, Pastorelli had no more 'juice' left in his Power-to-Pass button. Will Power, who sat in the sixth spot just behind Pastorelli, had one more shot. Power was able to get around him with the extra boost and Pastorelli did not have a chance to hunt him down as there was only one lap left before the checkered flag waved.

Pastorelli finished in the 6th spot, recording his fastest race lap at 1:24.216 (115.802 mph) on Lap 54. After starting 17th, he was the Most Improved Car in today's race. This marks the 23-year-old driver's best finish in a Champ Car since his result of tenth in Milwaukee and San Jose.

Pizzonia made his second Champ Car start yesterday and earned his second Champ Car finish today. Starting in the 13th spot on the grid, the Brazilian brought the #18 Team Brazil/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone home in the 11th spot, despite radio failure. When he rolled out this morning, he was able to hear his team on the radio, but they could not hear him. On Lap 20 he lost all communication with the team, and ran around the 2.709-mile circuit at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve pretty clueless to what was going on for the remainder of the 67-lap race.

On Lap 49 a yellow flag came out, and when the pits opened most of the field came into the pits for their final stop of the race. Without his team being able to communicate to him via radio, they had to communicate through the pit board, but this was not effective enough. When a caution flag comes out, the pits are closed for the first lap or two. Not knowing when the pits would open made it hard to communicate to Pizzonia when to pit. If a car pits when the pits are closed, they are penalized. The late pit stop cost him a few spots in the end of the race and ultimately another top-ten finish to his Champ Car record.

However, during that time he continued to run three laps behind the pace car and sat P1. He earns a point for leading the race during Laps 50 and 51. Pizzonia recorded his best race lap on Lap 41 recording a time of 1:23.899 (116.240 mph).

The team will have a couple weeks off before heading to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for Round 12 of 14 on the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford schedule, September 21-23.

Quotes Nicky Pastorelli #8 Curacao/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone
"It was a pretty good result today, finally! The Rocketsports team did a great job on strategy in today's race. We were so close to a top-five finish, but I ran out of Power-to-Pass and Will Power had a little left, so that is how he was able to get around me on the final restart. But we had great pit stops, thanks to my fantastic crew. The #8 Curacao/Rocketsports car was handling well and we were running fast. So in all, it was a good day. This result gives us positive momentum as we head to our next race at Road America, which is also a road course."

Antonio Pizzonia #18 Team Brazil/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone
"It was a pretty frustrating day for me and the #18 team. When I started the race, I could hear the team, but they could not hear me on the radio. It did not seem like it was going to be a problem as long as I heard them, but then a few laps later, I lost the radio completely. You just can't race at this track without communication with the team. It was hard to know when there was a yellow, but mostly it was hard to know when they were restarting. The team did the best job they could to communicate to me through different means, but it still was very frustrating because I just did not know what was going on out there. I was just driving around waiting for the checkered flag. But it was good to have more seat time in a Champ Car, and I would like to thank Paul Gentilozzi for this opportunity and the team for doing another great job for me this weekend."

Paul Gentilozzi, Rocketsports Racing Team Owner
"Both of our guys put forward great effort this weekend. It was a long one, but we got through it and had both cars finish. That is a positive for sure. Nicky did a great job today in the #8 car. I am so happy for him to have earned this finish; it has been a long time coming because he is a very talented driver. He held his own out there, ran competitive lap times, and brought the car home for us 6th -- so I congratulate him for his good run.

It was a shame for Antonio that we had a radio failure. It had to be very hard for him out there this morning but he did a good job. We could have seen both of our cars finish in the top ten today, but because of the radio problem with Antonio we lost a few positions during that last stop. But he did a good job, and what is important is that he had some more seat time in a Champ Car, so I think he accomplished a lot this weekend."

-credit: rocketsports racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Antonio Pizzonia , Paul Gentilozzi , Gilles Villeneuve , Will Power , Nicky Pastorelli