Panther Teammates Secure Top Ten Finishes at Infineon Raceway Indy Pro Series Driver Hideki Mutoh Moves from 19th to Top Ten SONOMA, Calif. (August 26, 2007) -- Panther Racing teammates Vitor Meira and Kosuke Matsuura spent a majority of...
Panther Teammates Secure Top Ten Finishes at Infineon Raceway
Indy Pro Series Driver Hideki Mutoh Moves from 19th to Top Ten
SONOMA, Calif. (August 26, 2007) -- Panther Racing teammates Vitor Meira and Kosuke Matsuura spent a majority of Sunday's Motorola Indy 300 at Infineon Raceway driving nose-to-tail on the California road course. Both drivers finished inside the Top Ten for the second time this season, with Meira leading the way in ninth and Matsuura a spot behind in tenth position.
The race was difficult on all drivers on the grid, as the first 69 laps ran without a single caution period. Panther's duo worked in tandem most of the race, after Matsuura started 12th and Meira in 13th. Within the first 13 laps, both drivers worked past Ryan Hunter-Reay and Buddy Rice to reach 10th and 11th, respectively.
It was on the first sequence of pit stops that the No. 4 Delphi team was able to move ahead of Matsuura and the Panasonic crew. Kosuke pitted on Lap 19 and Vitor came in for service two laps later and after the entire field cycled through, it was Meira who came out in 10th with Matsuura just a spot back.
The duo would take advantage of the first caution period, when Andretti Green Racing teammates Dario Franchitti and Marco Andretti made contact while fighting for the lead. The accident forced Andretti out of the race and allowed Meira and Matsuura to move into the their final finishing positions inside the Top Ten.
The result was Matsuura's fourth Top Ten of the season. Meira has now finished inside the Top Ten in 10 of his 15 starts this season.
The IndyCar Series will travel to the Raceway at Belle Isle for the Detroit Indy Grand Prix, which will be broadcast live on ABC at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 2nd. Additional coverage is provided by the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio channels 144 and 145.
Mutoh Climbs Into Top Ten at Infineon
Team Will Not Run Indy Pro Series Car at Chicagoland Speedway
Super Aguri Panther Racing Indy Pro Series driver Hideki Mutoh didn't let a 19th-place starting position keep him out of another impressive finish in his rookie campaign. Mutoh, who will not compete in the IPS season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, climbed all the way into the Top Ten in what will be his final start this season in the developmental series.
Mutoh is set to make his IndyCar Series debut at Chicagoland in two weeks.
Mutoh moved from 19th and into 11th by just the 22nd lap of the race, and then passed Wade Cunningham in Turn 11a, for tenth place. Hideki collected two victories, two poles, 10 Top Five and 13 Top Ten finishes this season. He is currently ranked second in the Indy Pro Series points standings.
"I think we finished where we should have been. That's the car we had and where we are now as a team on the road courses. The track was slippery, but it was much better after our second stint. The car was loose early, but it got better. We were sometimes as fast as the leading group so I think we have the speed we need in the Delphi car. Again I think we need to keep our heads down and keep trying."
"I've been having lots of oversteer since the first practice session but the engineers were able to solve that problem for today. We didn't have much yellow today so it made me re-realize how important the qualifying position is. I was able to set some fast time in the race so I think we are making a good progress in road course. I think it was a very productive weekend for us and I am looking forward to the next race."
"The condition was very different from yesterday's race so I was wondering how the car would be like today but it was as good as yesterday. I started from 19th but I managed to move up to the 10th so I am pretty satisfied with my result. I would've been great if I was able to win the race since it is my last race in Indy Pro Series but the race was great. I would like to thank the team for their great support. I am glad that I was able to have a great opportunity to race in Indy Pro Series and to be able to learn the track and American racing. Looking forward to race in IndyCar Series race at Chicagoland."