Justin salvages 8th from disappointing Road America weekend Starting 10th on the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix of Road America, Justin knew he had his work cut out to salvage a decent result. He didn't reckon on some loose bodywork further ...
Justin salvages 8th from disappointing Road America weekend
Starting 10th on the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix of Road America, Justin knew he had his work cut out to salvage a decent result. He didn't reckon on some loose bodywork further hampering his prospects, but with typical determination and good pit work by the #9 CDW team he salvaged 8th place at the chequered flag. Sebastien Bourdais won the race alongside his Newman/Haas/Lanigan team-mate Graham Rahal who finished 3rd, while Dan Clarke (Minardi Team USA) was runner up. Justin's RSPORTS team-mate Alex Tagliani was 5th.
The start was largely uneventful for Justin. He overtook Clarke, but was passed by PKV's Tristan Gommendy and was still running P10 after the race's only Full Course Yellow for an accident at Turn 5. But the #9 car was a real handful and Justin was fighting a horrible imbalance with armfuls of opposite lock. Obliged to run the red-sidwalled Bridgestones for at least one stint, #9 CDW team had wisely chosen to open the race with them, but every lap on the softer tyres was damaging their prospects.
The decision to pit six laps earlier than the leaders on Lap 8 brought a welcome switch to harder rubber as well as some clear track where Justin could settle into a rhythm. After that he was able to set lap times which allowed him to run more comfortably in the top 10, but the #9 CDW car didn't have the pace to make the most of the clean air. Justin made three further pit-stops on his slightly out of sequence strategy, see-sawing up and down the order as others pitted, and in the end he had to settle for 8th.
"I really would have liked to have done better for CDW and all our partners", said a disappointed Justin afterwards. "We had a piece of bodywork come loose in the race, which did not help us at all. The #9 CDW crew pushed through it and we were able to continue on. My crew gave me some good stops and we had a reasonable race strategy, but that wasn't enough to have a better result this afternoon. We'll take what points we were able to collect and go on to Europe."
Bourdais extended his lead in the drivers championship, but Justin's prospects improved when Will Power (Team Australia) suffered a mechanical failure, while Robert Doornbos (Minardi Team USA) ran into the back of his team-mate Clarke. Justin is still 4th in the championship, but is now just 7 points behind Power.
After a couple of difficult races, Justin is hoping his luck will turn when the Champ Car World Series makes its two race swing through Europe, beginning at Zolder, Belgium in a fortnight's time.