DAY OF UNFORTUNATE CIRCUMSTANCES FOR DREYER & REINBOLD RACING AT THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH
Long Beach, CA (April 17, 2011) - It was a day of ups and downs for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Everything that could happen did happen, and the DRR pilots, Justin Wilson (No. 22 Z-Line Designs) and Ana Beatriz (No. 24 Ipiranga), tried their best to keep out of the trouble.
As the green flag dropped, Wilson had a good clean start. The Brit quickly settled into a groove and maintained his 5th place starting position. He quickly went into fuel save mode and would try to challenge Oriol Servia for 4th place. On Lap 23, Helio Castroneves hit him from behind in the hairpin, which caused him to spin and the yellow flag came out on Lap 25. Wilson dropped back from 5th to 14th position. He came in on Lap 27 for the No. 22 Z-Line Designs crew to check out the car and to fill with fuel and tires. Fortunately, there wasn't any damage done to the car and Wilson was able to get back out.
From that point on, it was a matter of trying to play catch up. The Z-Line Designs crew decided to take an alternate strategy to gain some positions and Wilson came in on Lap 42 for fuel and tires. He would pit again on Lap 60 and at that point, it wouldn't go the direction the team had hoped. Wilson pushed as hard as he could on cold tires, but unfortunately he pushed a little too hard and made contact with the tire barrier in Turn 8. He had to come in to replace his rear wing and front right toe-link, which would put him down four laps. Fortunately, he was able to get back out and was able to collect as many points as possible. Wilson finished the day in 22nd position.
It was a similar story for Wilson's teammate, Ana Beatriz. The rookie soldiered through the weekend with a broken scaphoid bone. She started 26th for today's event, but unfortunately on the pace lap before the green flag dropped she spun which caused her to nearly lose her lap. From that point on, she was playing catch up. Although the start didn't go the way she had planned, Beatriz hung on and fought through the pain of her wrist. She had good pit stops on Laps 5, 27, 30 and 57 for fuel and tires. As a result, she brought the car home safely in 19th place.
The Indianapolis-based squad will head home to Indianapolis and prepare for the fourth round of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
What they have to say about the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach...
Justin Wilson, No. 22 Z-Line Designs: "It was a tough day. We sat there behind Oriol Servia, he started to drop back and I tried to put the pressure on, but then I started to slip back from him. We were three to four laps from our pit stop and I just got rammed from behind at the hairpin and spun around which kind of wrecked the day. It was disappointing to get taken out of 5th place from something as silly as that, which was frustrating. We were trying to make something happen and we tried an alternate strategy. I was pushing really hard on cold tires and locked the right rear and soon as I hit the brakes going into Turn 8. I knew that I should go straight on, but I also thought that I'm slow enough and with that locked up it will unlock and I will get through the corner. As soon as I turned in it didn't come unlocked. It was my mistake and I put it in the fence there and that lost us four or five laps. At that point we got the car back out and collected as many points as we could. The Z-Line Designs guys did a great job fixing it in the two laps. That's just how it goes. It was a tough day and we were trying to make something out of nothing at that point."
Ana Beatriz, No. 24 Ipiranga: "I'm disappointed with my mistake on the start of the race. I did a stupid thing and wasn't paying attention and got in trouble at the wrong time and it took us almost a lap back. Once I got into a rhythm, it was hard to keep it up there to attack the curbs and I tried to be fast and my wrist started to hurt a little bit in the middle of the race. I was just hanging in there and I tried to finish the race. I was having trouble with my wrist and it was unfortunate. Even if I didn't do anything at the start of the race it would be a tough day anyway. I'm just glad that we could finish the race and get the points. Hopefully, in Brazil I will be in better condition to be more competitive."