IRL: Motegi: Panoz G Force race report

Giaffone grabs third as crashes take out leading Panoz G Force contenders. Mo Nunn Racing's Felipe Giaffone salvaged a third placed finish aboard his Panoz G Force GF09 in a crash filled Indy Japan 300 at Motegi today. The Japan race was...

Giaffone grabs third as crashes take out leading Panoz G Force contenders.

Mo Nunn Racing's Felipe Giaffone salvaged a third placed finish aboard his Panoz G Force GF09 in a crash filled Indy Japan 300 at Motegi today.

The Japan race was looking good for the American chassis manufactuer until three of its leading contenders - Target Chip Ganassi Racing team-mates Scott Dixon and Tomas Scheckter and Team Penske's Alex Baron were all elimated within a 10 lap period.

Scheckter was looking strong in the race lead when he hit the wall on lap 168. The South African had previously set the fastest lap of the race at 201.936mph - more than 1mph faster than anybody else in the race.

Barron crashed just prior to Scheckter after fighting back from early contact with Dixon which required a new nose for his GF09.

Dixon then took up the charge before he and Tony Kanaan made contact on lap 177 while fighting for the lead.

Dixon's right rear tire made contact with Kanaan's left front. Dixon did 180-degree spin and made contact with the left side of car with the outside retaining wall. Kanaan made contact with the outside retaining wall with right side of car.

Giaffone was left as the last of the leading Panoz G Force contenders to take up the charge. However, a broken fifth gear hindered his eventual result.

"We have to leave here happy with third place, because I’m not sure we had a third-place car by the end of the day today," Giaffone said.

"But that just goes to show that if you keep pushing hard to be there at the end, good things happen to you even when you don’t have a perfect day.

"This was a good result for the team. It was our second third-place finish in a row, and it moved us up to third in the points, so we are in a very good position going into the month of May.

"The guys gave me really good pit stops, and we were lucky to overcome the problems that we had at the end. I developed gearbox problems during the last 50 laps or so. I lost fifth gear, so I could use only sixth, and that was not a good thing for me during the restarts because the gear was just a little bit too long.

"There are a lot of other people who probably wish they were in my position after this race, so I'm not going to hang my head. Let's go to Indy."

-pms/g force-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Felipe Giaffone , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Chip Ganassi , Mo Nunn , Alex Baron
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing