MI-JACK CONQUEST RACING AND ANDREW RANGER SCORE BEST FINISH OF THE SEASON
-Charles Zwolsman ties best result finishing seventh -
Surfers Paradise, October 22, 2006 -- It was an action packed race today in Surfers Paradise at the Lexmark Indy 300. What started off as a tough weekend for the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team in qualifying ended up as one of the team's best performances this year. Thanks to good race strategies, the team achieved its best combined results this season with a fifth and seventh place finish. Both Andrew Ranger and Charles Zwolsman were able to move up from their 12th and 15th places on the grid and finish in the top-ten. Canadian Ranger captured his best result this year with a fifth place and Dutchman Zwolsman tied his best finish of the season with a seventh place.
With a single file start on lap two, Ranger and Zwolsman were unable to make up any positions but Zwolsman's crew called him in on lap 11 for an early pit stop. The strategy enabled him to move up to second when a yellow flag came out two laps later bringing the front runners in for their first pit stop. Zwolsman grabbed the lead from Heylen when he pitted on lap 21, and the Conquest rookie managed to build up a small gap and stay in the lead until he came in for fuel and tires on lap 30 under yellow.
Meanwhile Ranger, who was running 11th after his first pit stop, chose to not come in when the third yellow came out on lap 29 moving him up to fourth place. On the restart both Zwolsman and Ranger made mistakes due to their cold tires causing them to lose positions. Zwolsman clipped the wall and fell one position to tenth and Ranger spun coming out of the hairpin in the final corner and ended up 12th. He moved back up to 11th on the same lap and along with Zwolsman made up some positions when Servia, Wirth and Bourdais pitted on lap 38. The Conquest drivers did their final pit stop on lap 39; Ranger gained a position when his teammate stalled leaving his pit box after only getting a splash of fuel.
Thanks to some on-track incidents in front of them, Ranger and Zwolsman once again moved up. At this point Zwolsman was ninth and Ranger, who also passed Bruno Junquiera, was sixth. Ranger got to his final position when then leader Pizzonia came in for a pit stop and Zwolsman gained an additional position when Bourdais went off in the final corner.
With today's results Andrew Ranger moved into ninth in the Championship standings with 184 points and Charles Zwolsman jumped up one position to 13th with 151 points.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY:
5th - Andrew Ranger #27 Wal-Mart / Tide
"Today was a very satisfying result, the only thing is that if I had not made that mistake I might have finished higher but still, this is a great result. My engineer Don Bricker made an excellent call on our strategy and we were running up front. Unfortunately, I was pushing a little too hard coming out of the hairpin in the last corner on the restart when I was running fourth and I spun the tires because they were not up to temperature and I fell down the field. I kept on pushing hard throughout the race to move up and make up a few positions. We might have struggled in qualifying but the car was good in the race. We worked hard all weekend and it paid off today."
7th - Charles Zwolsman #34 Mi-Jack Conquest Racing
"My crew made a great call just before the first yellow when they called me into the pits which eventually gave me the lead. When we were leading the race I was able to build a small gap and things were looking good because I was on the same strategy as the guys behind me. I was quite happy. Later on we did a pit stop under yellow and when we restarted the tires were cold and I had a brush with the wall which fortunately didn't damage the car. Then near the end we came in for a splash of fuel without changing the tires and I didn't anticipate that the tires were hot and had a lot of grip and I ended up stalling the car. It was a shame but we came a long way this weekend and finishing seventh is great considering the small things that happened in the race. The fans here are great and I really like this country, it's a beautiful place to be and especially to race."
The Gran Premio de Mexico, November 10-12, 2006 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico.
-credit: mi-jack conquest racing