Helio "Spiderman' Castroneves won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach today, crossing the finish line .461 seconds in front of a determined Cristiano da Matta. Third was Gil de Ferran, finishing a Brazilian sweep of the podium positions. This is...
Helio "Spiderman' Castroneves won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach today, crossing the finish line .461 seconds in front of a determined Cristiano da Matta. Third was Gil de Ferran, finishing a Brazilian sweep of the podium positions. This is Castroneves's fourth career win, and his third top ten finish at Long Beach in four starts at Long Beach. Once again showing his jubilation, he climbed the main straight fence.
Castroneves, starting from pole, lead all 82 laps of the strategy fill race. The last driver to do that was Brian Hertz at Laguna Seca in 1999. It is the sixth consecutive winer at Long Beach for Honda.
Castroneves: My car was great the whole race, unfortunately my fuel meter broke on the parade lap. So as soon as the green flag, I was just saving fuel because I knew it was going to be a strategy race.
"When Cristiano started chasing me. Sometimes it is good when you are the hunter, but in that time I was feeling pretty comfortable in front because I was driving basically with no mistakes. Some time drivers, like with me, are better with the pressure. I was just making sure the braking point was good, and tried not to lock any wheels and I did not. It was a prefect drive and I am very proud of the team. It was a perfect weekend, winning the pole, leading the most laps. I don't think I could ask for much better."
When asked if he like the new fencing, Castorneves replied: "Yeah, it was really stiff."
This was da Matta's best career finish on a temporary street course (Monterrery is a permanent course) and retains the series lead. This is the best finish ever for a Toyota powered car at Long Beach.
da Matta: "At the beginning of the race it was just everybody just trying to save some fuel for a sprint at the finish. but I didn't have my meter broke. I knew Helio was saving alot of fuel and I was saving as much I could. We made a good first pit stop and got ahead of Kenny (Brack). The best place to pass here is in Turn 1. but Helio is a pretty smart guy and and he always kept me on the outside, He drove well, he drove defensively and he deserved it. I had nothing for him"
De Ferran: "We had a really good car today. I was just trying to save fuel all day long. It was really a very smooth day for us. My car was really handling very well, I thought it was just as fast as Hel9o and Cristiano;s but they were driving very well and not making any mistakes, the did not give me much chance to attack. I am very happy to be on the podium."
The race was relatively free of incidents other than some wheel to wheel contact resulting in spins. On lap Patrick Carpentier (Team Player's) and Max Papis (Team Rahal). Carpentier lost control and went airborne causing his front end to land on the rear wing of Papis's Lola. Papis had to replace the rear wing during the pit stops. Carpentier continued with the damage to his Reynard until he suddenly stopped and rolled out of his car. Carpentier fractured his left wrist in the incident according the CART doctors.