Indianapolis Motor Speedway
TOP 20 FOR PIPPA MANN IN THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
Indianapolis, IN – Pippa Mann finished the 95th running of the Indianapolis 500 in a credible and impressive 20th place, after starting on the inside of the last row in 31st position.
The British driver was one of five rookies contesting the 500-mile race, and one of only two rookies still running at the finish. In her first ever IndyCar race, the 27 year-old put in a truly superb performance to bring the No. 36 Armando Montelongo Conquest Racing car home for a top 20 result.
After making a clean start, Mann settled into a good pace and began working her way through the field. By lap 21, she was up to 27th position when the KV Racing Technology – Lotus car of Takuma Sato hit the wall and brought out the yellows.
Meanwhile the Conquest Racing team were aware that Mann’s in-car water bottle was not working and the young Brit was unable to take on any fluid. With temperatures in the 80’s and climbing, Mann was in for a tough afternoon.
A number of incidents ensued after the first re-start, with Mann running around 24th position throughout. By lap 162, it was evident that Mann was struggling with arm and leg cramps caused by the dehydration she was suffering in the cockpit. The No. 36 Armando Montelongo Conquest Racing car pitted to take on fuel and new tyres, and the team were able to pass a drinks bottle to Mann in an attempt to re-hydrate her.
The last half of the race was extremely tough.
With around 20 laps to go, the cars ahead of Mann began to peel into the pitlane to take on fuel, and the team radioed through to Mann that she needed to save fuel in order to make it to the end without having to pit again. Mann battled through the relentless discomfort she was experiencing, and did exactly as the team asked, to achieve the finish she had worked so hard for.
Mann was transported to the infield Medical Centre following the race to receive treatment for dehydration. Speaking about her experience, Mann said: “I think I realised when my water bottle wasn’t working on lap one that it was going to be a fairly long race, but I’m not sure I realised exactly how long. Before the halfway point at around lap 80, I was starting to go into cramp down my right-hand side from dehydration. The last half of the race was extremely tough.
“To bring the No. 36 Armando Montelongo Conquest Racing car home safely after 500 miles was our goal, and I’m so proud that we were able to achieve that today. We managed the pit stops and clean re-starts throughout the race, and towards the end, we were just trying to save fuel. We had stopped a little earlier at the end of a yellow, and were trying to get to the finish without having to pit again. Thankfully I was able to do what the team needed me to do and we made it to the end of the race.”
Reflecting on a superb drive, Mann added: “A top 20 in my first ever IndyCar race, let alone my first ever Indy 500, is a great result for myself and the team. I’m so grateful to all the guys at Conquest Racing for getting me this far – I’ve enjoyed working with each and every member of the team and cannot thank them enough for their hard work.”
Conquest Racing team owner Eric Bachelart said: “I’m happy with how today went. I think Pippa did a really good job and she’s done a solid job all month. She’s been very professional and hasn’t made any mistakes. I think we had a good car today. The crew and engineers did a good job. Unfortunately we had a problem with the water bottle - I feel without this, we could have been a little bit stronger so I’m sorry about that. It was a good solid effort from the whole team and I’m thankful to all the crew that worked on this one-time effort. I can’t praise enough the work that Pippa’s done throughout her time with us. This was her first time ever in an IndyCar and her performance has been very impressive.”
Mann’s race engineer, Brandon Fry, added: “Pippa ran a great race - she looked like a veteran out there. We had a problem with the drink bottle, which certainly hurt her, and I think there was probably even more potential there if we hadn’t hurt her, which is a shame. She did a great job though and really hung in there. At the end, she was being a champ and saving fuel like crazy, and got us to the finish and made up a couple of spots, so we’re really happy with the way she worked today, she did a great job.”
-source: pippa mann PR