It was a tough day for the PacWest team as both Mauricio Gugelmin and Scott Dixon had their days ended early. Gugelmin was running strong in third place when he lost fourth gear in his gearbox, which led to problems with fifth and sixth gears as...
It was a tough day for the PacWest team as both Mauricio Gugelmin and Scott Dixon had their days ended early. Gugelmin was running strong in third place when he lost fourth gear in his gearbox, which led to problems with fifth and sixth gears as well. From the second position on lap 77, Gugelmin radioed his crew to advise them that he could no longer get his car in gear. His race was over. Dixon was on a great fuel strategy, which saw him climb from seventh to second by lap 41. When he was ready to pit on lap 51, he was struck from behind by Bruno Junqueira and punted into a runoff area. Dixon was forced to back out of the runoff and he lost a lot of time prior to making it into the pits. After his stop, Dixon had fallen to P17. Then, on lap 96, while running in P13, Dixon spun his car and made contact with the outside retaining wall in turn four. His race was over just four laps from the finish.
"This was a terrible end to an otherwise good weekend for PacWest," said Dixon. "I don't know what happened when Bruno hit me from behind, but because of that I lost a lot of time getting to the pits for my first stop. When I finally got back out on the track I had fallen to 17th and had an uphill climb for the rest of the day. It's upsetting because we had been conserving fuel so well that I think we would have had a shot at a good finishing position. I crashed at the end of the day because I was trying so hard to make up positions that I got on the gas a little too hard and spun and made contact with the wall. Just a bad day all around."
"I lost fourth gear around lap 72, and then I started losing fifth and sixth gears as well," said Gugelmin. "I had to hold the gear lever in fourth just so it would stay in gear, but even then it kept jumping out of gear. My gearbox finally got to the point where it wasn't engaging anymore. I'm really disappointed because my car was good all weekend. It's just a shame we couldn't continue."