CHAMPCAR/CART: Las Vegas: Neel Jani race report

Mechanical problems deny Neel Jani spot on the podium Swiss racer Neel Jani debut in the American ChampCar Series in Las Vegas was unlucky. Twelve rounds before the end and in great position to secure a spot on the podium, he dropped out of the...

Mechanical problems deny Neel Jani spot on the podium

Swiss racer Neel Jani debut in the American ChampCar Series in Las Vegas was unlucky. Twelve rounds before the end and in great position to secure a spot on the podium, he dropped out of the race. Once again, the 23-year-old rookie of the PKV racing team had been one of the fastest drivers in the field.

After the very promising preseason tests, in which Jani had always been ranked among the top 3, the qualifying in Las Vegas was somewhat disappointing and resulted in 9th starting position. "During the qualifying, we had problems with our setup for the first time this season. But for the race we found the right tuning again."

And the tuning sure was spot on! During the first half of the race, Jani was the fastest driver on the city track through Las Vegas that has a length of 2.44 miles. Therefore, the Swiss was able to pass one competitor after the other, moving up the grid and even taking second place for a while. Though he had to fight with transmission problems, he was still en route to a spot on the podium.

Twelve rounds before the end, he had to drop out of the race -- that was the end of all hopes of a top-3 spot. Jani: "It was likely a failure of both the transmission and the engine at the same time." When he dropped out he was "only" in seventh position but had good chances to capture third place as the pit stops had already come to an end.

"We were very fast and I was clearly on the way to the podium. It's a pity that the failure has stopped me", the Swiss racer explained. However, he looks optimistically into the future as the race has given him plenty of positive indications.

Physical shape not an issue

Neel Jani had entered unfamiliar ground not only because of all the PR appointments that came with his ChampCar debut. He also had never competed in such a high-level race. "Keeping up your concentration in such a fast car on such narrow streets for more than ninety minutes is a real challenge. But I felt great and in top shape. The hard preparation has paid off", the Swiss explained after the race. His fitness was especially important in this race because his drinking bottle wasn't working from the third round onward. So for the best part of the race, he couldn't drink anything. "With temperatures in the high 80s, this was a bit unpleasant and my mouth was quite dry. But that was about it."

The ChampCar Season will already continue next week with another city race in Long Beach, California.

-credit: www.neel-jani.com

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Neel Jani