(Surfers Paradise, Australia) --. Surviving a battle of attrition, both PacWest drivers finished in the points in an incident-laced Honda Indy 300 in Surfers Paradise, Australia today. Battling mechanical gremlins throughout the event, both ...
(Surfers Paradise, Australia) --. Surviving a battle of attrition, both PacWest drivers finished in the points in an incident-laced Honda Indy 300 in Surfers Paradise, Australia today.
Battling mechanical gremlins throughout the event, both Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell hung on to finish 10th and 11th respectively, despite numerous setbacks.
Gugelmin, driver of the #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz, was hampered by a gearshift problem early on, which had to be re-calibrated during his third pit stop on lap 27. He lost several spots during the stop, but fought his way back through the field to finish in the points.
Blundell was fighting some early braking problems before being hit by Max Papis in turn three half-way through the event. He spun and stalled his car, but continued on course after being bump-started by the CART safety team.
It was a good day overall for Mercedes-Benz, as all five cars finished in the points for the first time this season.
MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 10th
"We lost a few spots early in the race with shift problems," said Gugelmin.
"I couldn't run lean because I was not able to downshift properly.
"On my third stop, my engineers reset my gearbox calibration, and I was OK for the rest of the way. I also experienced some problems with braking, but not enough to slow me down. We didn't have a good enough car to win, but I'm happy we finished in the top 10."
MARK BLUNDELL - # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 11th
"It was a tough battle, but we survived," said Blundell
"We had a lot of mechanical problems throughout the course of the race which hindered our performance. Then, on top of that, we were hit by Papis in turn three and lost several spots because I went into the runoff and had to be bump started.
"The overall balance of my car was pretty good, we just didn't have the tools to pull out a better finish."