GRAHAM RAHAL RETIRES FROM TORONTO CHAMP CAR RACE Graham Rahal's weekend can only be described as 'character building' following his retirement from the Grand Prix of Toronto - a victim of the difficult weather conditions which caught out the ...
GRAHAM RAHAL RETIRES FROM TORONTO CHAMP CAR RACE
Graham Rahal's weekend can only be described as 'character building' following his retirement from the Grand Prix of Toronto - a victim of the difficult weather conditions which caught out the Champ Car World Series rookie today. An uncharacteristic 15th place qualifying result for Rahal left him on the eighth row of the grid for today's Toronto street race. In provisional qualifying on Friday the Ohio driver was eighth fastest and expecting to be able to make progress in the final session. His main concern was the brakes and the rough, bumpy track, but yesterday Rahal was unable to make any improvement.
"It was frustrating, as we didn't make any gains, we lost ground, and that hasn't happened to us this season. I've never been in this position before and when you can't figure it out, it's very tough."
Today Rahal put his qualifying performance behind him, taking his place on the grid in 15th and prepared to use strategy and hard racing to put in the best performance possible. On the opening lap it seemed that Rahal's day was already done with an incident ahead forcing him to brake hard, which caused a rear lock up and slide into the wall, damaging the Medi I Zone car's nosecone and front wing. Running at the rear of the field Rahal was able to pit and rejoin the field without any further loss of position.
A number of incidents on this tight street circuit which caused yellow flags were used by the team to top up Rahal's fuel and with a strong strategy the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing rookie was up to sixth place by half distance, and then made further progress up to fifth having pitted for fuel and wet tyres. The slippery track and changing weather conditions tested drivers and cars to the limit, with Rahal being caught out in the latter stages of the race, with a slide into the tyres causing steering rack damage which put him out of the race.
He said of his day, "I didn't mind the rain, and we were running well today. The car wasn't damaged in the first incident and we were able to run at a good pace, while also conserving fuel. I just came in a little too quickly, locked up and slid into the tyres. I was feeling confident as the race progressed, but perhaps it was a little too much confidence today.
"We just never got it together this weekend. I can't pinpoint the reason, but we just weren't competitive enough. It happens sometimes, but not usually the whole weekend. Today, we just needed to be there at the end to be in with a shout of a podium, but just one small mistake, like many others, cost us dearly. We need to rebound in Edmonton and get back to the form we need to get podiums."
Rahal now has a week's break from the Champ Car World Series before returning to the cockpit for the final race of the Canadian trio of events, with the Grand Prix of Edmonton.