Race for victory ended by engine failure Justin was comfortably on course for his first Champ Car victory at Portland when his ...
Race for victory ended by engine failure
Justin was comfortably on course for his first Champ Car victory at Portland when his #9 Intel-RuSPORT car was struck by a rare engine failure just before mid-distance.
After dominating both qualifying sessions, Justin led the field from pole position through Turn 1. He drove a flawless race, pulling out a steady lead over Paul Tracy who had muscled past Justin's team-mate A.J. Allmendinger at the Festival Curves. By the time he pitted on Lap 30, Justin had built up a comfortable lead of 6 seconds over Tracy. After the pit-stops he continued where he'd left off, opening his lead further to 11 seconds before his Ford-Cosworth engine suffered an internal engine drive failure on Lap 46 that resulted in a loss of oil pressure and power. A.J. battled with an ill-handling car, but put in a spirited race to finish 5th.
The result was galling for Justin as he had so firmly put his stamp on this weekend's proceedings and had high expectations of ending his podium drought at Portland. "I'm really disappointed and in a bit of a state of disbelief, really. The car was fantastic and everything was going to plan; I was really almost in a cruise mode. The car was so good in fact that the walk back to pits was harder on me than driving the car. The good thing is that we've showed all weekend long that RuSPORT can do this and be competitive. We'll make those same opportunities going forward."
RuSPORT Team President Carl Russo was also disappointed that the team had not been able to capitalise on their 1-2 in qualifying, but drew positives from the team's performance at Portland. "The team did an outstanding job all weekend and this was Justin's race. The normally reliable Ford-Cosworth engine had a failure. Clearly the team continued to demonstrate that we have the speed and skill to compete up front. Now it's off to Cleveland."