CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America: Justin Wilson race report

Wilson a disappointed 7th at Elkhart Lake - suspension problems In an eventful Grand Prix of Road America at Elkhart Lake Justin Wilson ran as high as 2nd behind eventual race winner Alex Tagliani thanks to good pit-stop work by the Mi-Jack ...

Wilson a disappointed 7th at Elkhart Lake - suspension problems

In an eventful Grand Prix of Road America at Elkhart Lake Justin Wilson ran as high as 2nd behind eventual race winner Alex Tagliani thanks to good pit-stop work by the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team. However, from about half distance Justin's Lola-Cosworth had suspension problems which caused a severe handling imbalance. He finished 7th, a solid points-scoring position, but was disappointed to have missed out on a podium place for the fourth race in a row.

Justin and his Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team came to the fast and flowing Elkhart Lake circuit looking for a strong result, but struggled for pace in the practice sessions. Changes to the car helped them to find more speed between first and second qualifying, but Justin and the team had to settle for 9th fastest and they were disappointed to be so far off the pace.

The race got off to an eventful start when Ryan Hunter-Reay and Jimmy Vasser both span on lap 1 while battling for second place, collecting Patrick Carpentier in the process. After the dust had settled, and he had re-passed Michel Jourdain Jr., Justin was running in 6th place by lap 6.

A major shake-up in the running order started on lap 16 when Bruno Junqueira span when trying to overtake team-mate Sebastien Bourdais. The leading Newman-Haas and Forsythe teams suddenly found themselves running under a full course yellow just as they needed to make their first pit-stops.

Mi-Jack Conquest Racing had opted to bring Justin in two laps earlier under green flag conditions, immediately after an earlier yellow. With the obligation to pit three times under green, those that had pitted between laps 13-15 had the advantage and by lap 24 Justin was in second spot behind Tagliani.

Everything was looking good at this point for the team's and Justin's first Champ Car podium, but in the run-up to his second stop on lap 29 a front trackrod worked loose. The resulting imbalance led to a marked reduction in straight-line speed and scrubbed the front tyres causing the car to understeer. The result was a drop back down the running order.

Compared with Cleveland, Toronto and Vancouver, Elkhart Lake represented something of a turnaround in fortune for Mi-Jack Conquest and Justin. However, both team and driver are hoping for some trouble-free races to allow them to regain their early season form.

"With all that has happened to us in the last three races, a seventh place finish is welcome", Justin reflected. "Overall, however, I'm disappointed with the way things turned out today. Until we had the suspension problem, it was looking really good for a podium finish", he added.

-justinwilson.co.uk

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Sébastien Bourdais , Michel Jourdain
Teams Conquest Racing