Matsuura Leads Panther With Twelfth Place Finish Mutoh Collects Another Top Five in Mid-Ohio 100 Pro Series Race LEXINGTON, Ohio (July 22, 2007) -- Super Aguri Panther Racing driver Kosuke Matsuura completed a solid effort Sunday in the...
Matsuura Leads Panther With Twelfth Place Finish
Mutoh Collects Another Top Five in Mid-Ohio 100 Pro Series Race
LEXINGTON, Ohio (July 22, 2007) -- Super Aguri Panther Racing driver Kosuke Matsuura completed a solid effort Sunday in the Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio, driving his No. 55 Panasonic Panther car into a 12th-place finish. Matsuura's teammate, Delphi Panther pilot Vitor Meira, was bit by another dose of misfortune, as a mechanical failure forced him into a 17th-place result.
The Panther teammates both moved up the grid at the start of the race, where an accident involving Marco Andretti put the race under yellow in its initial laps. Meira was able to pass several competitors as he moved from last place to 13th at the same time Kosuke jumped into 11th position.
Vitor continued to make his climb up the grid, moving past A.J. Foyt IV on lap eight, ahead of Matsuura on Lap 13 and then by former Panther driver Tomas Scheckter on the 17th-circuit of the event. He was one of the few drivers able to make multiple passes on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course. But it was after Meira took his second pit stop -- while running in ninth - that the Delphi car lost its water pressure and had to pull into the pits on Lap 54, where the team would be finished for the day.
Matsuura continued his climb while his teammate's car headed to the garage, and had moved into eighth place as he pitted on Lap 70. The Japanese driver returned to the field in 11th, where it looked he would remain for the rest of the race, but a slight fuel miscalculation forced Kosuke to come in on Lap 79 for a splash of fuel, and he finished 12th.
The IndyCar Series will have a much anticipated weekend off before traveling to Michigan International Speedway for the Firestone Indy 400 on August 5th. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at noon, with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio Channels 144 and 145.
Mutoh Finishes Fifth in Mid-Ohio 100
Panther Indy Pro Series driver Hideki Mutoh collected his ninth Top Five finish of the season Sunday in the Mid-Ohio 100, where the Japanese driver drove his way from ninth to fifth. It was another impressive performance for Panther's rookie driver, who will make his IndyCar Series debut the last race of the season in Chicagoland Speedway.
Mutoh started ninth, and slipped past Jamie Camara on the opening lap and was able to maneuver around Robbie Pecorari and into the seventh spot. Mutoh was pushing to move into sixth when his No. 55 car slipped off track, giving seventh back to momentarily, but Mutoh was able to reclaim the position just three laps later. The Pro Series team was able to climb another position during a restart on Lap 21, when current points leader Alex Lloyd had a gearbox problem and fell out of competition.
Hideki was able to make one more pass on Bobby Wilson to move into fifth place, where he would finish the 40-lap event.
Mutoh has moved within 111 points of Lloyd in the Indy Pro Series points championship.
"We lost water pressure in the Delphi car, and that's why we parked it. We'll turn the page and its onto Michigan for the Panther team. It was a bad race and its something we've got to overcome. We're all going to evaluate things when we get back home; what we're doing right and what we're doing wrong so we can all be better during these last few races."
"It was a safe and clean race for us in the Panasonic car. There was a bit of a miscalculation by a lap or two and I had to come in for a splash at the end. Other than that mistake things are going well and I feel like the team has improved. Sonoma is a bit different track, and we hope to have a bit better car."
"Our plan for the race was to pass as many cars as we could at start and also on the restarts. I did my best but it wasn't enough to move up to the leader from where we had to start. I'm looking forward to the next race and I hope that we will finish better."