RAPHAEL MATOS LEADS A CAREER-BEST 15 LAPS FOR DE FERRAN DRAGON RACING AT TWIN RING MOTEGI
MOTEGI, JAPAN (September 18, 2010) - Raphael Matos led a career-high 15 laps for de Ferran Dragon Racing, but the team's risky move on strategy was not rewarded in the IZOD IndyCar Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi.
Matos started 19th, but moved into the lead when the team elected to stay out on the track instead of pitting with the leaders during the third caution of the race. He held the lead for 15 laps and remained in the top three until having to pit on lap 102. When Paul Tracy hit the wall and caused the fourth caution of the race 12 laps later, de Ferran Dragon's risky pit strategy was spoiled.
"It was a tough race today," Matos said. "We tried to gamble on a strategy and it was working well until the yellow flag for Paul Tracy's incident. That hurt us. So, unfortunately, the strategy didn't pay off."
Matos stayed out on track once again when the leaders went to the pits during the fourth yellow to cycle back onto the lead lap. He remained in that spot the remainder of the race to finish 18th.
"It's really tough to pass on this track, so once we cycled to the back of the pack, it got even more difficult," Matos said. "Of course, we're disappointed that we didn't have a better result, but it definitely could have been worse. This track is very tricky."
"Unfortunately, our strategy gamble didn't pay off," managing partner and team president Gil de Ferran said. "We stayed on the lead lap, but just didn't have the speed to get ahead. The weekend was tough overall, and we are struggling to find the speed we need. So, we'll continue to focus on finding that, and aim to finish the season strong in Homestead in two weeks."
-source: de ferran dragon racing