French racer makes a strong recovery in San Jose as Atlantic battle enters final stages (Indianapolis, IN) 4 August 2006--In the first seven rounds of the Yokohama presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship, Simon Pagenaud enjoyed a fairly ...
French racer makes a strong recovery in San Jose as Atlantic battle enters final stages
(Indianapolis, IN) 4 August 2006--In the first seven rounds of the Yokohama presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship, Simon Pagenaud enjoyed a fairly smooth rookie season, but rounds eight and nine provided some significant highs and lows in a short period of time for the young French racer.
After scoring his maiden series win in Edmonton, Pagenaud was looking to make the most of his Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San Jose Presented by Taylor Woodrow debut and grow his eighteen-point margin in the championship battle. The Team Australia racer was able to do just that, leaving San Jose with a twenty-six point gap over Graham Rahal, but not before the race took a dramatic turn for Pagenaud.
Starting from fifth on the grid, Pagenaud got a good start but was caught up in a lap-two, turn-one incident that sent his Team Australia Atlantic entry skyborne, but he was able to return to the pits for repairs and take back to the track. As the field prepared for the restart, Pagenaud had his work cut out for him back in twenty-first position, but he made a strong charge through the field to be credited with ninth at the finish.
The effort impressed many in the motorsports world, as the deep pool of talent and all-new Atlantic equipment have made for one of the most competitive championships in the sport.
"There just isn't a weekend where you can afford to have a bad race and expect to stay in the points hunt," said Team Australia co-owner Derrick Walker. "Simon comes to the Champ Car Atlantic series with a reasonable amount of European racing experience, but more than that he has a maturity towards his driving and the business of racing. This has been a rallying point for the whole team with the professional way that he conducts himself and the seriousness and the focus that he has, which makes him one of the most consistent drivers of the series so far."
The Champ Car Atlantic Series presented by Yokohama will race again on the weekend of August 13th for the Grand Prix of Denver, and Pagenaud is focused on making even more progress towards the championship on yet another new track for him.
"We can't let up at all because everyone is so hungry in this series and there is a lot of racing yet to do, but we also don't want to do anything that's going to cost us points," said Pagenaud. "Team Australia did a great job again this weekend, and after Denver, we will be back on two great permanent road courses (Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal and Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin) that I have heard a lot about, and am really eager to be racing on. Hopefully we can keep this up and I can celebrate a championship in Wisconsin!"
*Pagenaud regularly says that qualifying is his favorite part of the race weekend, and it shows, as he has started eight of the first nine Atlantic events from the top five
**Pagenaud recently participated in a web-chat with fans hosted on the Atlantic website. The transcript is available at: www.champcaratlantic.com/News/Article.asp?ID=2455