Bruno Junqueira wins gor Toyota in Japan Bruno Junqueira was fast all weekend at Twin Ring Motegi, but he had to bide his time to win the Bridgestone Potenza 500, taking a memorable home victory for Toyota at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan...
Bruno Junqueira wins gor Toyota in Japan
Bruno Junqueira was fast all weekend at Twin Ring Motegi, but he had to bide his time to win the Bridgestone Potenza 500, taking a memorable home victory for Toyota at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan today.
The polesitter sat back and watched as Honda-powered Paul Tracy and Tony Kanaan dominated the first 110 laps of the 201-lap contest, but both were eliminated by mechanical failures.
Junqueira was then in position to cruise his Target Toyota/Lola to the victory by 12.282 seconds over Alex Tagliani'sFord- Cosworth/Reynard. 2000 Honda Indy 300 winner Dario Franchitti rounded out the victory podium after finishing third in the KOOL Honda/Reynard and took the lead in the championship in the process.
The result made Toyota the first Japanese manufacturer to win a FedEx Championship Series race on Japanese soil.
³I'm really happy to get the win for Toyota in their home country,² Junqueira stated after leading 54 laps. ³The engine was great all three days and reliable today. But I'm happy for the Team Target and for myself as well because we started the season with two terrible races. We've been fast, but we haven't finished.²
Junqueira started from pole position, but relinquished the early lead to Kanaan and Tracy, who staged an entertaining battle through the first two stints. But Tracy was eliminated while leading after 84 laps when a right-front wheel bearing failed on his KOOL Honda/Lola.
Brisbane-born Kiwi Scott Dixon started 15th and finished ninth in the race after some bad timing in the pits. The 2001 Rookie of the Year made nine pit stops and turned a quick lap of 27.040 (152.757 mph).
"The race was going pretty well for me until we had some problems on my fourth pit stop," said Dixon. "I had to come right back in and then the track immediately went green, so we went a lap down on the cars we were competing with. We definitely should have finished the race a lot further up, but we made some points and we need to keep at it because there's still a long season ahead of us."
Dixon arrives in Australia on Monday for a two-day promotional visit for the Honda Indy 300, which will be held on the streets of the Gold Coast from October 24-27.