Conway moves up to 4th place in IndyCar Championship after a storming drive from P20 to P6 in Sao Paulo
London, UK – Monday 2nd May - British IndyCar driver Mike Conway stormed to 6th place during an IndyCar race that was full of chaos and which ended up running across two days. The Long Beach winner kept his cool amongst the torrential rain and tricky racing conditions to drive from the back of the grid to finish 6th and move up to 4th place in the Championship.
Following a competitive qualifying session on Saturday in which Conway finished in P9, the Andretti Autosport driver lined his car up on row five to take the rolling start.
Rain had been falling prior to the start and was still coming down heavily when the track went green. The wet weather meant there was chaos on the track from the beginning with five cars going off on turn one. Conway meanwhile had a strong start and had overtaken two cars into turn one; elevating him to P6.
The incidents at turn one resulted in the track being put under full caution. On lap seven the track went green with Power leading the way. Second placed Dixon spun at the restart while Conway overtook Franchitti into turn one, meaning by lap two Conway was up to P4.
On the next lap there was yet more drama in the wet conditions when third placed Rahal spun on turn one. Conway continued to manage the treacherous conditions and moved up to P3, behind Briscoe and race leader Power.
Race control made the decision on lap nine to put the course under full caution due to the torrential rain which was causing standing water across the circuit. One lap later the weather conditions deteriorated further and the race was red flagged.
It took a further two and a half hours for race control to decide that the track conditions were safe enough to bring the cars back on track under caution. With the rain continuing to fall heavily, and with parts of the track deep in water, Conway suffered electrical problems with his car which resulted in it stalling on lap 13. One lap later the decision was made to postpone the race until the following day, but by this point Conway had fallen back to P20 and was one lap down on the leaders.
The race was restarted on Monday morning on a wet track, but the torrential rain of Sunday had stopped. Conway took to the track on red tyres and lined up in P20 but just a few minutes into the race the heavens opened and the entire grid were forced to pit for wet tyres, with Conway rejoining in P18.
On lap 22 the track was put under full caution due to Bourdais’ trip into the tyres. This elevated Conway to P17 and bunched up the pack so that he was lying right behind Matos.
On lap 26 the track went green but less than one lap later the track was put under full caution again after Rahal crashed out. With a number of cars deciding to pit under caution, Conway was now running in P14 when the track went green again on lap 30.
Yesterday’s issue with the engine meant I started today’s part of the race way down in P20.
Conway immediately overtook Hinchcliffe for P13 and then a spin from Wilson and an off into the tyre barrier by Franchitti elevated Conway into P11.
Just a lap later Conway had closed the gap to Savedra and seconds later squeezed past him to take P10. The chaos continued with Tagliani spinning a lap later, bringing out yet another full track caution and allowing Conway through to P9.
On lap 35 Conway took advantage of the track being under caution to make his second pitstop of the day. This time only stopping for fuel and keeping his previous wet tyres.
Conway rejoined the track in P13 and the track went green two laps later. Almost immediately, Dixon spun which moved Conway up to P12 and three laps later, he made a move on Hildebrand for P11. Another spin, this time by Jakes, meant Conway was now running in P10 with less than half an hour of the race left to run.
On lap 49 a number of the leaders came in for their second pit stop which elevated Conway to P7. With just a few minutes to go Conway was now right on the back of 6th placed Sato and putting him under pressure. With two laps to go Sato ran wide and Conway slipped through to take P6.
In the closing stages of the race Conway continued to catch fifth placed Servia but, with the race now a timed event, time wasn’t to be on his side and Conway crossed the finish line in an impressive P6.
"I’m really pleased with today’s result. We’d been running really well in the race yesterday and were up to P3 before the engine stalled due to all the water that had got in. The visibility was very tough yesterday and it was so difficult to see that it would have been dangerous to continue;” commented Mike Conway.
“Yesterday’s issue with the engine meant I started today’s part of the race way down in P20. Although the rain wasn’t as torrential as yesterday, the conditions were still really tricky and the track very slippery so it was a case of trying to stay out of trouble. I’m happy coming away with 6th place from starting P20 and the result means I head to the Indy500 in fourth place in the Championship with it all still very much to play for;” continued Conway.
Mike Conway heads to Indianapolis on 29th May for the Indy 500 and round five of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series. Mike Conway is currently lying 4th in the Championship with 102 points.
-source: mike conway PR