Montreal podium challenge ended by gearbox failure Justin Wilson was running strongly in fifth at the Molson Indy Montreal with a podium finish firmly in his sights before gearbox problems ended his race 14 laps from the end. Having started in...
Montreal podium challenge ended by gearbox failure
Justin Wilson was running strongly in fifth at the Molson Indy Montreal with a podium finish firmly in his sights before gearbox problems ended his race 14 laps from the end. Having started in 8th, Justin was determined to make the most of his car's pace and posted the 2nd fastest lap of the race. The Lola's transmission failed just as Justin was in the thick of a battle with Patrick Carpentier, Mario Dominguez and Paul Tracy who finished the race in that order behind winner Bruno Junqueira.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was familiar to Justin from his 2003 F1 season, so he and Mi-Jack Conquest Racing had been confident of a good result. After finding a competitive set-up early in the practice sessions 8th spot in final qualifying was a disappointment, but it masked the car's true pace. Gaston Mazzacane's accident in Saturday's qualifying brought out a red flag just as Justin was on course to post a time that would have been good enough for 5th spot on the grid.
In the race, Justin emerged unscathed from an eventful first lap that saw contact between Alex Tagliani, AJ Allmendinger and Paul Tracy. He lost position initially to Oriol Servia and Ryan Hunter-Reay as the cars funnelled into the tight complex at turns 1 and 2, but quickly re-took Servia, while Hunter-Reay spun off into the wall on lap 6. Justin chased Patrick Carpentier hard for the first half of the race and got alongside him down to the final chicane on lap 29. Braking hard, both drivers missed the turn and cut the corner, but while Justin slowed briefly to acknowledge the unfair advantage of their off-track excursion, Carpentier did not. This earned the Canadian a penalty that forced him to allow Justin past. Later in the race, Justin gained further positions when Alex Tagliani lost time with a broken wing at the second pit-stops, and when race-leader Sebastien Bourdais retired following his contact with Allmendinger.
As they emerged from the second pit-stops on Lap 40, things were shaping up nicely with plenty of time left on the push-to-pass button and scope to pass on the track or take the short-fuelled Carpentier and Dominguez in the final pit-stops. With a re-found pace that was missing from the Lola at Denver, a rare transmission failure was galling for Justin and the team.
Afterwards Justin commented, "I'm obviously disappointed with how my race ended. We were having a very competitive race, and the car was fast. My crew did a good job on the pit-stops, and we were definitely in position to score our first podium finish. Unfortunately it was not meant to be just yet."
The Champ Car World Series continues on 12th September with the Grand Prix of Monterey at the famous Laguna Seca road course in California.