Baltimore, MD (Sunday, September 02, 2012) - The race started with the threat of rain; just the way the Lotus HVM Racing team had hoped. On lap one Simona De Silvestro, driver of the #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car had contact and pitted for a new nose. On lap six, she radioed that she had rain on her visor.
The team chose to continue racing on the slick tires as the track was not completely wet and gambled that the rain would hold off a bit longer. On lap 19 a yellow-flag came out and De Silvestro pitted for her rain tires. It was a good call. Half the team's stayed on slick tires and half, like De Silvestro, changed to rain tires. Rain tires was the definitely the right choice as the rain got heavier and the track slicker.
On lap 21 De Silvestro suffered some front-wing damage, but the team decided to run with the damaged wing as long as possible to not lose position.
On lap 22 the team called her in to rip off the broken part of the wing and changed back to red slick tires as the track had started to dry and the rain looked to be moving out of the area.
On lap 24 she served a drive-through penalty for the incident that caused the damage.
Even with her earlier issues, De Silvestro was running 14th when she hit the wall ending her race. "Well, I'm disappointed because I made a mistake," she said. "I hit the curb in the chicane and it ended our day. Until then it was kind of a crazy race. We made some positions; we don't know where we would have finished. This time it's kind of my fault. It's a shame because we were doing really well. Now you just go to the next one I guess."
The incident happened coming out of the chicane. De Silvestro hit the second curb a little bit too hard and got airborne hitting the outside wall with the left-hand side of the car.
Team manager, Shane Seneviratne was disappointed as well considering how well De Silvestro has been driving this season. "It's obviously disappointing," he said. "Simona has driven great all year. She made a mistake here that put her out of the race. We had a couple of incidents earlier on, but they were small ones. The team changed the front wing out and we recovered from it. I'm disappointed for all the sponsors that are here and want to thank them for all their support. We'll do our best at Fontana."
Keith Wiggins, team owner, had high hopes for a good result since De Silvestro drives this track so well. "As the race turned out we had a pretty good opportunity," he said. "Like everyone else, we just needed to stay out of trouble. We looked quite good early. We had a solid strategy that was playing out, but we weren't able to stay clean until the end. It's just unfortunate that it ended that way."
Technical director, Tom Brown, agrees that De Silvestro had a good shot at a very strong finish. "It was becoming an interesting race," he said. "Multiple strategies were being played out among the teams. We were looking very good. Sim was pushing hard and got bit by the chicane around mid-way. As always we pushed and worked hard all weekend to keep maximizing what we had."
The team goes back to Indianapolis tomorrow before heading back west for the season finale in Fontana on Saturday, September 15th.
Source: HVM Racing