Gugelmin still motivated as he scores his season's best result by Alan Perry, motorsport.com Mauricio Gugelmin, driving the Hollywood PacWest Mercedes-Benz, just as he has for the last few years, has not had the best season this year. In the ...
Gugelmin still motivated as he scores his season's best result by Alan Perry, motorsport.com
Mauricio Gugelmin, driving the Hollywood PacWest Mercedes-Benz, just as he has for the last few years, has not had the best season this year. In the first 15 races, he has managed to score only 16 points. He hadn't even finished a race since Milwaukee, eight races prior. However, despite many obstacles, the situation turned around, at least for one weekend, at the Molson Indy Vancouver.
Gugelmin noted, "It has been a very tough weekend, but at least we got a finish. I finished fourth, just missed the podium by one place and we were right there."
What kind of obstacles did he have? Blown engines and a gearbox problem. (Hogan Racing, which also uses Mercedes engines, has suffered many engine failures as well this past weekend and in recent testing. On the other hand, Patrick Carpentier, driving a Mercedes-powered car, scored second in the race.)
When the car was working, Gugelmin showed well. He had top time in the early part of the Friday and Saturday practice sessions. He eventually qualified tenth.
"We didn't qualify as well as we could because we had to change cars on Saturday because the engine blew. We've had three engine failure this weekend, including one this morning (during the warm-up session) and before the start we had to change cars because the other one had a gearbox problem."
The race started with heavy rain, but the rain lifted during the race and the skies were clear by the end. Gugelmin was not bothered by the rain. "I don't mind driving in the wet. You know, it is wet for everybody."
The drying track meant that the teams needed to decide whether to switch from rain tires to slicks. A clear dry line has formed, but if you got off that line in some places, you would probably hit the wall, as Gugelmin's teammate Mark Blundell found out.
"We elected to leave the car with a dry set-up and we were chasing the car all day as the tires changed. I saved tires on my first stint and the choice to stay on wets was the right one. In the end I'm happy for the crew, who did a great job."
Gugelmin is encouraged by this weekend's results. "When you've had a season like I've had where nothing worked, from stupid mistakes and all that, it's very difficult to keep the crew motivated, to keep everybody motivated. I can be right there. This weekend we showed we're fast. And the other thing we did was just change the engineering inside a bit and we were fast and we'll be fast at the next four races, you will see, and we will be fast next year.
"It is just that there's things that I would like to see be different and one is for the team to be sharper and I think we are going to achieve that."
Despite the problems is having with the car, as well as getting older compared to the drivers he is racing against, Gugelmin is not about to quit. "I'll be racing here next year. I haven't decided where I will be, but most likely where I am right now. I have a few years left in my career and I'm not about to pack up anything right now."