Conquest Racing rookies soak in experience at Homestead Miami Speedway Homestead, Fla. (October 3, 2010) - Conquest Racing closed out its season in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series with a good showing from its pair of rookie drivers who also soaked...
Conquest Racing rookies soak in experience at Homestead Miami Speedway
Homestead, Fla. (October 3, 2010) - Conquest Racing closed out its season in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series with a good showing from its pair of rookie drivers who also soaked in some valuable experience.
However, Bertrand Baguette's and Sebastien Saavedra's respective 15th and 16th place finishes don't reflect the true performance of both rookies in the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
As has been the case all season long, Baguette continued to progress but the season finale proved to be one of his more challenging races of the year, having to fight off a penalty for leaving his pit box with the fuel hose still attached and struggling with an ill-balanced car in the closing stages of the 200-lap race.
As for Saavedra who was making his debut with Conquest Racing, the rookie driver impressed and showed great maturity in what was only his second IZOD IndyCar Series start of his career.
While Saavedra had a very strong first stint, making his way up as high as 12th before his first pit stop, Baguette fell back a few places, by the time the first caution came out on lap 36, the Colombian was 15th with the Belgian 17th.
Following the restart the pair started moving forward with both cars making it into the top 10 at one point. Baguette was once again on his way to a top-10 finish but with the car's balance going off, he had to settle for 15th.
Saavedra who was running in 17th when he started the final lap of the race took over 16th by getting by Raphael Matos and was on his way to passing his teammate, but a photo finish between the two cars saw the driver of the Sumimed Coldeportes car place 16th, less than two hundredths of a second behind his teammate.
Conquest Racing will now return to its Indianapolis-based shop and begin preparations for the 2011 season.
15th - Bertrand Baguette, #34 RACB Conquest Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"I had a good car at the beginning of the race, the first ten laps or so were very, very good, but then the car was sliding up the track. The rear end of the car was very nervous and I had to deal with that during the race because there wasn't anything we could do about it. We adjusted things on the front wing to help me with the understeer but still it was pretty difficult.
"Then I had the pit lane penalty, so all considered with the race we had, finishing 15th is not so bad. This is the first time we really struggled on an oval and we still finished 15th.
"I hope to be another year with the team because I'm very happy and very proud of what we did this year. Everyone did a fantastic job, and we have a good crew and engineers. What we did this year with this team was really incredible. Hopefully we can do the same next year."
16th - Sebastien Saavedra Sumimed Coldeportes Conquest Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"Those last five laps I was trying to concentrate on a photo finish with Bertrand. Unfortunately, I used my last push to pass with two laps to go. I thought I had another lap. I'm was very happy to pass Matos at the end.
"I learned a lot during the race. The best experience is not testing, it's living it, running the complete 200 laps with everybody and all that adrenaline. This is the best practice. This race counts as hundreds of test days.
"I'm very thankful to Eric Bachelart and Conquest Racing for giving me this opportunity. It's very important to get miles. The guys did an incredible job in the pits stops. I have to thank all my sponsors who were here and who have started opening the doors for next year."
Eric Bachelart, Team Owner, Conquest Racing
"Both drivers did a really good job on Saturday. Sebastian was really, really impressive in his first race on this type of oval. He did an excellent job and showed a lot of maturity. Regarding Bertrand, we were hoping for a little bit better, he's been with us for the whole season. I believe he did a really strong race. Unfortunately, at the end of the race he lost a bit of the balance of the car. That cost him a little bit. We could have been close to a top-ten tonight. It was pretty nice to see these two rookie drivers end the race with a photo finish together. It was a great job from the whole team and the engineers."
-source: conquest racing
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