Justin Wilson finished a frustrating 5th at Zolder after a difficult weekend with the ...
Justin Wilson finished a frustrating 5th at Zolder after a difficult weekend with the #9/CDW/RuSPORT team missing valuable track time on Friday and Justin himself battling through a debilitating stomach bug through the weekend.
When the red lights went out and the race began, the adrenaline kicked in and Justin was his usual self, quickly passing Bruno Junqueira in the #19/Sonny's Bar-B-Q/Dale Coyne Racing car at Turn 1 on the opening lap to move into the fourth position. With a focus on fuel saving through the opening stint, the first pit-stops under a full course yellow for track damage on Lap 17, were uneventful and Justin resumed the race in fourth. At the second round of pit stops on Lap 40, a combination of fuel saving by Justin and excellent pit work by the #9/CDW pit crew allowed Justin to leapfrog Will Power (#5/Team Australia) and Robert Doornbos ( #14/Minardi Team USA), to assume the number two position in the race.
Eventual winner, Sebastien Bourdais, set the pace for the 17-car field and the RuSPORT team opted to follow Bourdais' pit sequence, while Graham Rahal, pilot of the #2/Medizone car and Junqueira chose to pit out of sequence from the leaders which, combined with the yellow flags, brought the race to them while Justin had to watch his chances of a podium finish evaporate. "The car felt pretty good and the #9/CDW crew gave me great pitstops," said Justin afterwards. "But with the different fuel strategies by several teams, it felt like we were taking one step forward and two steps back."
Pushing hard on Lap 59, Justin passed Rahal and found himself on Junqueira's tail. While Justin tried to out-brake Junquirea into Turn 1 on Lap 60, he ended up locking the brakes and dropping from P3 to P5 in the aftermath. "As soon as I got on the brakes both fronts locked up and I knew it wasn't going to stop", lamented Justin. "I flat spotted both front tires, so they locked at the next turn and Graham (Rahal) got through and then (Will) Power got by coming out of Turn 4. The vibration was terrible and the car was very difficult to handle. From that point on, I just needed to limit the damages and finish the race." Dan Pettit, RuSPORT team owner added, "We were hoping to put on a great race for our guests from Plantronics Europe and until Lap 60, the race looked very positive for us. However, the race didn't work out how we hoped, and that's racing; so many things must go right to finish on the podium. We just missed our chance to finish on the podium here in Belgium, but we are looking forward to next weekend's race in Assen, with our sights still set on our first win of the season."
The #9/CDW/RuSPORT team now travel the short distance to Assen in the Netherlands for Dutch Grand Prix.