Pagenaud picks up first victory at Edmonton

The misfortune of one driver turned into the benefit for another, as Simon Pagenaud scored his breakthrough win in the Champ Car Atlantic series event at Edmonton. Pagenaud started 2nd and ran there for a majority of the race, but capitalized...

The misfortune of one driver turned into the benefit for another, as Simon Pagenaud scored his breakthrough win in the Champ Car Atlantic series event at Edmonton. Pagenaud started 2nd and ran there for a majority of the race, but capitalized when runaway leader Raphael Matos had a lapse of concentration and hit the concrete barrier exiting turn 12. With the win, Pagenaud has stretched his gap in the championship to 18 points over Andreas Wirth.

Unlike the Champ Car event that proceeded the race, the start was clean but a full course caution appeared anyway. Leo Maia had stalled on the start and was unable to get restarted before losing a lap. A couple laps after the restart James Hinchcliffe got loose and smacked the turn 12 wall. "The driver ran out of talent halfway through turn 12," Hinchcliffe commented. "I got on the power nice and early but with all the Champ Car marbles, I got off line."

A little later Ryan Lewis lost the handle on his car and spun into the wall, just avoiding the Gelles Racing teammates of Toronto winner Robbie Pecorari and series debutante Colin Fleming. Though his day was done there was no caution. Neither was there one when Justin Sofio and Alex Barron made contact, as Sofio tapped 1997 series champion Barron into the wall. Both continued, though Sofio would receive a black flag. Barron's return to the series has not been a good one.

Matos led Pagenaud but there was a great scrap for 3rd. Joe D'Agostino held the position but was passed at turn one on consecutive laps. First Graham Rahal got him and Wirth repeated the feat on the next circuit. Matos was cruising, but apparently it was too much for his own good. He got a bit off line on entry to turn 12 and lost control, terminally damaging his ProWorks Sierra Sierra Enterprises car. An introspective Matos stood beside the track the remaining eight laps, either to collect his thoughts or avoid the frustration of his team.

"I was just pushing to the limit," he said. "Simon had run some good laps. Just tried to bring the car to victory and made a little mistake that cost us the race." There will be better days for the Brazilian, who has won this year in the IndyCar Indy Pro Series ranks.

From there Pagenaud picked up the spoils to secure the victory. "I wasn't expecting (Matos) to make that mistake," the Frenchman said. "Just had to keep pressure as I tried to do fast laps." Rahal, in an otherwise off weekend, finished 2nd with Wirth 3rd. The top three on the track mirror the top three in points, Pagenaud leading Wirth and Rahal with four races remaining.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Graham Rahal , Alex Barron , Colin Fleming , Ryan Lewis , Justin Sofio , Andreas Wirth , James Hinchcliffe , Joe D'Agostino