FRUSTRATING FINISH TO AN OTHERWISE STRONG WEEKEND FOR CONQUEST RACING
Motegi, Japan – September 18, 2011 – The Conquest Racing team and Joao Paulo de Oliveira had a bittersweet ending to an otherwise strong performance this weekend at the Final Indy Japan 300 in the 14-turn 2.89-mile Twin Ring Motegi permanent road course on the pacific Japanese coast. The Brazilian driver started his No. 34 Conquest Racing / Ceremony / Honda / Dallara / Firestone form the 12th position and was moving up the charts but unfortunately was forced to abandon after only 19 laps due to a mechanical failure after a contact.
The weekend started positively for the Conquest crew, who had a quick car right out of the box and managed to run in the Top 10 during the Friday practice session, and qualified in the Top 12 on Saturday afternoon, which represented the best qualifying effort for the team this season.
During race day, the Brazilian driver had a good start and managed to move up one position during the first lap, placing himself in 11th. De Oliveira had his sights on the Top 10 and as he settled into a quick rhythm and on Lap 18 he attempted to pass Japanese driver Takuma Sato at the hairpin, Sato closed the door on him and they made contact causing a bizarre mechanical problem with the #34 Ceremony car which left it with no power and eventually out of the race. Oliveira turned a total of 19 laps and was scored as 26th on the final results.
Once again the Conquest Racing squad showed their speed on road courses but unfortunately were not able to be on track towards the end of the race and fight for a top spot in the race. There will be a little time to rest before the team heads back to the United States and prepare themselves for the next round of the IZOD IndyCar Series in Sparta, KY. The Kentucky Indy 300 will be broadcasted LIVE on October 2 through VERSUS at 2:00 PM ET.
Joao Paulo de Oliveira
Driver No. 34 Conqust Racing/Ceremony/Honda /Dallara /Firestone
"It's disappointing to retire as one of my goals for my first race was to finish, but the experience overall was quite valuable. I think we were having a strong race and looking good for a top 10 finish. However this problem happened unfortunately and that's racing. I'd like to thank Ceremony for their support over the weekend and getting me into my first Indy Car race".
Conquest Racing Team Owner
“Overall, we had a very positive weekend and we showed we were competitive. JP has done an excellent job and it was very impressive to see how quickly he adapted to the car. The contact with Sato was a racing incident and we need to further investigate why we lost power with the engine. The engineers and the crew worked very well all weekend. We were also very pleased to work with new partners such as Ceremony, Image Marketing and Ritmo Mundo watches."