CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: Sigma Autosport race note

Papis' third place gives Sigma Autosport it's first podium finish at Long Beach. LONG BEACH, Calif. - Max Papis lived up to his moniker "Mad Max" as a combination of his driving, great strategy and a bit of luck all combined to give him a 3rd ...

Papis' third place gives Sigma Autosport it's first podium finish at Long Beach.

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Max Papis lived up to his moniker "Mad Max" as a combination of his driving, great strategy and a bit of luck all combined to give him a 3rd place finish at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

It was Papis' first podium finish of the year and the first ever for the second-year Sigma Autosport, which is based in suburban Chicago.

Papis, 32, of Como, Italy, but who now makes his home in Miami, started the race 18th, and patiently waited for his chance during the 90-lap race. Papis jumped from 8th to 2nd on the 33rd lap while under yellow and ran there for several laps before making his second pit stop out of sequence from the others on a call from team manager Phil Howard and engineers Dave Watson and Gordon Coppuck. Papis was running 13th before taking 2nd again when the leaders pitted. Papis then pitted for the final time (of three total) on Lap 64 under yellow while in 2nd. Great teamwork by the Sigma Autosport crew during the stop kept Papis in 2nd where he stayed until Jimmy Vasser passed him on Lap 73. Papis then held off a charge from Kenny Brack in the closing stages of the race to maintain the podium.

Papis' finish gives him 18 points in the CART FedEx Championship Series standings, good enough for 5th place. It was also the eighth consecutive race that Papis has finished in the points dating back to Lausitz, Germany, last season and his 10th career podium appearance. It was also Papis' first podium since finishing 2nd at Fontana last year and his best ever finish at Long Beach.

"This is more than just a podium finish. It is like a win for Sigma Autosport because it is their best finish ever. It is so amazing that we were able to do so well since we have not been in the car since Mexico and because we did not test, and because of the fact we only have only one car and no backup. It is a proof again that Ford is a very, very strong engine. I am just really happy to bring my team their first podium. It is a great satisfaction for my mechanics."

On Sigma's Strategy

"This was proof that there was great teamwork involved, especially in the pits. Gordon Coppuck and David Watson, my two engineers, did a very good job with the race strategy. I really tried to put a lot of pressure on Michael (Andretti) on the couple of restarts, but we didn't really have the speed to keep up with him. I slightly kissed the wall when Jimmy (Vasser) went by me because I was trying my best to hang on. I am going to say it again how very, very special this moment is and I just don't want it to stop here. Third place is okay, but I am looking forward to bringing the first success to Sigma Autosport and hopefully we can do it very shortly." - Max Papis, Sigma Autosport Driver

"This is an incredible feeling. I really very happy about this and to tell you the truth, I'm quite speechless. Max drove a great race and we at Sigma Autosport are extremely happy and proud of him. It's great to have the first trophy for our office." - Tom Wieringa, Sigma Autosport Owner

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Kenny Brack , Tom Wieringa