Molson Indy Toronto - Round ...
Molson Indy Toronto - Round #11 Exhibition Place Shigeaki Hattori - #16 Mercedes-Benz/Reynard/Goodyear
(July 18, 1999) - Today's Molson Indy Toronto ended early for EPSON Bettenhausen Motorsports driver Shigeaki Hattori after a brush with the wall on the exit of turn one bent the left rear toe link (part of the suspension), forcing his retirement from the event.
The damage occurred late in the 95-lap event and his retirement was on lap 63. The 1.721-mile temporary street circuit around Exhibition Place is notoriously bumpy and Shige had been working on a grip problem all weekend. "The car was still sliding a lot," Shigeaki said, "especially on the changes between asphalt and concrete. I had quite a bit of understeer in the car all through the race."
Earlier in the race, Shigeaki had run deep into a runoff area and lost a number of laps waiting to be re-started. The first time the CART Safety Team attempted to bump start the car, it didn't fire. Although it started on the second attempt, fellow FedEx Championship Series competitor Bryan Herta spun his car on the racetrack in the same area just at that moment. The Safety Team was forced to re-focus their efforts on Herta's predicament, which took three or four attempts to clear. By the time this process was completed and Shigeaki got restarted, he was six laps down on the leaders.
Although he was running well down in the order at the time of his exit, he had been running competitive lap times. His best lap time of 1 minute 1.644 seconds under race conditions was a mere three-tenths slower than his qualifying time which is run on a very low fuel load.
Shigeaki will depart this week for a visit to his home in Japan to see his wife and children. He will return in time for his next scheduled event at the new Chicago Motor Speedway on August 22nd.