Strategy and Bridgestone Tires Put da Matta Back in Victory Lane Employing a brilliant strategy to pit early for open track position, and then utilizing his Bridgestone tires to the fullest, Cristiano da Matta drove away to victory in today's ...
Strategy and Bridgestone Tires Put da Matta Back in Victory Lane
Employing a brilliant strategy to pit early for open track position, and then utilizing his Bridgestone tires to the fullest, Cristiano da Matta drove away to victory in today's race. It's the first race win for da Matta upon his return to the Champ Car World Series, following a two-year stint in Formula One. It's also the 12th career Champ Car triumph for the Brazilian, all coming on Bridgestone Firestone race tires.
As he correctly predicted to a crowd of 400 Bridgestone hospitality guests this morning, da Matta said he had an excellent race car if he could get out front. Team manager Jim McGee obliged by having da Matta pit on lap 13, putting the 2002 champion out of sequence with the rest of the field. The strategy paid off when a full-course yellow slowed the field on lap 47, four laps after da Matta's second stop.
Running the popular Bridgestone alternate tires at that time, da Matta ran a full series of laps under 61 seconds to build enough of a cushion to cruise home to a 10.1-second win over Sebastien Bourdais.
"Both the Bridgestone standard and alternate tires were really good for the way our car was set up," da Matta said. "The reds (alternates) were a little bit better for us; they gave us a little better traction. On my third stint, I told my crew if we were going to be in clear track I want the Bridgestone red tires, so I could make up some more time. I had to be very aggressive at that time and the tires were holding up great. But either reds or blacks, I had the confidence in the Bridgestone tires to do the job for me today."
"We just used the right tires at the right times," said runner-up Bourdais. "The team did a great job; we had good balance on the car. We were really strong on old tires and the tires were giving back to us. We saved a lot of fuel most of the race and every time I was pushing hard at the end of the stint and the tires were still underneath the car. I was getting the best grip I could and I was very happy with the Bridgestone tires."
Quote from Joe Barbieri, Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Congratulations to Cristiano for getting back to victory lane and to PKV Racing for its first Champ Car win. They made a sensational call to get up front and Cristiano did the rest, leaning on his Bridgestone tires the entire way. We should also note that Sebastien set the fastest lap of the race initially on a set of alternate tires that had 29 race laps plus a qualifying stint on them, and then bettered the fast lap time on a set of standard tires with 30 race laps under them. That certainly shows that both types of Potenzas could take the punishment of a long run and still give the speeds necessary to run up front. We're quite pleased that drivers in this series and elsewhere have the confidence to know that their Bridgestone tires won't let them down."
Race temperatures ranged from 128 to 136 degrees track and from 79 to 85 degrees ambient (F).
Race temperatures ranged from 53 to 58 degrees track and from 26 to 29 degrees ambient (C).