DAY TO FORGET FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA AT ROAD AMERICA Team Australia has had a day to forget in the Generac Grand Prix of Road America as both Will Power and Simon Pagenaud experienced problems in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin today. Power had a gearbox...
DAY TO FORGET FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA AT ROAD AMERICA
Team Australia has had a day to forget in the Generac Grand Prix of Road America as both Will Power and Simon Pagenaud experienced problems in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin today.
Power had a gearbox problem sideline the #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01 after only 25 laps, a costly problem for the Australian as championship rival Sebastien Bourdais was able to win today's race and further extend his series lead as Power failed to score a significant points haul.
Power started alongside Bourdais on the front row of the grid but was lost two positions at the start of the race when his car failed to engage first gear off the starting line.
The Toowoomba-born driver then pitted earlier than anticipated to change from the option 'red' tyres to the standard 'black' tyres, as the reds were not handling well around the 4.048-mile (6.515 km) circuit.
Power's car was back to its best, but as last year's Champ Car Rookie of the Year worked at chasing down a podium finish his car jammed in fourth gear due to a gearbox problem, ending his race and classifying him in 16th position.
Simon Pagenaud was caught up in an accident on the first lap of the race entering Turn 5, causing him to make contact with Paul Tracy. The Frenchman pitted on lap four to replace a broken front wing as a result of the contact, and further time was lost when last year's Atlantic champion stalled twice in pit lane.
He recovered to finish 11th and now sits eighth in the championship standings, while Power remains third in the series points but now lies 53 points behind Bourdais, who won today's race ahead of Dan Clarke and Graham Rahal.
The Champ Car World Series now heads to Europe for Rounds 11 and 12, with the first event at the Zolder circuit in Belgium on August 26 followed by the second race at Assen in Holland one week later.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY --
Will Power -- #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01
"I think off the start line it didn't go it into gear properly and I got a neutral and lost a couple of spots," said Power.
"From there I really struggled on the red tyres, the car was basically impossible to drive for us, so we pitted early and went out of sequence and then when we put the black tyres on and it made the car completely opposite handling-wise and it made the car really good.
"Halfway through the second stint the car kept getting stuck in fourth gear and something broke in the gearbox and jammed up. There was nothing we could do from there.
"We go on to Europe now and have to work on getting two really good podiums. The Team Australia guys did a great job and we will keep on soldering on. The season is not over yet."
Simon Pagenaud -- #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01
"Coming into turn five on the first lap I was on the inside and I didn't overshoot the braking there, but someone turned on me, grabbed my wheel and I went in the air," said Pagenaud.
"We had a little hope, but the race was officially over when I came into the pits and unfortunately I stalled the Aussie Vineyards car twice and I don't know why.
"From that point on I drove on to get points, but the car was fun to drive and felt great. I have to thank the whole team for giving me a great car.
"We just didn't have the best luck for the race, that's just the way it is. We were fast and that is probably the most important thing."
Derrick Walker -- Team Australia Co-Owner
"It was a very, very long day for Team Australia today," said Walker.
"We had all the makings of a good day and we didn't come away with much.
"It was another first for the Panoz gearbox. We found another weakness in the system there, it was the gearbox this time, which has sidelined Will and has taken away a lot of valuable points, because we were racing with a non-updated part for the gearbox.
"Simon had the early incident set him back for the rest of the race and around here you don't recover easy from that. Unfortunately we didn't manage to get back up there with him.
"Fortunately it didn't make too much of a dent in the points, now we just need to make sure we find the problems early on and eliminate them."
Craig Gore -- Team Australia Co-Owner
"Will has certainly had his fair share of mechanical problems this season and has lost three races this year through no fault of his own," said Gore.
"He's a tough character and will not give up, but Sebastien's win does make things a little tougher. But if there is a driver than can reel in the gap it's Will and the team is behind him to get the job done at the next two rounds in Europe so that he can be back in title contention by the time we get to the Gold Coast in October.
"Simon also had what you would call a 'character building' day and unfortunately was caught up in some troubles on the first lap. He will also be out to recover lost ground over the next two rounds in Europe."
-credit: team australia