(Motegi, Japan) -- PacWest drivers Mark Blundell and Mauricio Gugelmin both finished out of the points after battling handling and mechanical problems in the fifth round of the FedEx Championship Series at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan toady. ...
(Motegi, Japan) -- PacWest drivers Mark Blundell and Mauricio Gugelmin both finished out of the points after battling handling and mechanical problems in the fifth round of the FedEx Championship Series at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan toady.
#18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz driver Mark Blundell battled handling problems for the majority of the race and his day ended when he hit the wall coming out of turn two on lap 160.
Blundell escaped injury in the incident which saw his car finish stationary in the middle of the circuit.
The team played with virtually every component on the car in an effort to improve the balance, but a set-up could not be found which would allow the Englishman to run competitively.
The mechanical gremlins which have recently plagued #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz driver Mauricio Gugelmin continued to have their way at Motegi. After posting the best qualifying performance of the year for Mercedes-Benz on Friday, Gugelmin was forced out of the race on lap 42 with a broken exhaust.
The 500km race was won by Michael Andretti from Dario Franchitti and Roberto Moreno.
MARK BLUNDELL - #18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MECEDES-BENZ --19th
"I just battled handling problems all day," said Blundell.
"It was only a matter of time before I got too close to the wall.
"Thankfully I managed to walk away without any injury. It is certainly a long way to come for this result.
"We just have to try and re-group and get things right for Nazareth in two weeks."
MAURICIO GUGELMIN - #17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 22nd
"It is disappointing to come all this way and have our race ended so early," said Gugelmin.
"I lost a few places at the start because I went low in turns one and two and everyone else towed each other through on the high line.
"I came in for the first stop and the crew did a great job to pick me up three places.
"I was making remarkable numbers in regards to fuel mileage, but not long after the stop I lost power. Everyone was having a great race out there and I was really enjoying myself. This is unfortunate."