Matsuura's Strong Run Ends Five Laps Early Kosuke Matsuura put his road racing experience on display this weekend in the inaugural Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Matsuura qualified seventh for the IRL IndyCarÂ® Series first non-oval event,...
Matsuura's Strong Run Ends Five Laps Early
Kosuke Matsuura put his road racing experience on display this weekend in the inaugural Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Matsuura qualified seventh for the IRL IndyCar® Series first non-oval event, and was running in fifth place with five laps remaining when the wear and tear from a tough day at the office finally took its toll. Matsuura suffered from damage to his gearbox resulting from on-track contact during the course of the race. He was black-flagged for smoke on Lap 93 of the 100-lap event, and retired two laps later.
Kosuke Matsuura, #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz/Honda/Firestone:
"I am very disappointed. It was our first time on a road course, and this race was very important for us. Especially with my background in road racing, I was so excited to be looking to finish in the top five. My gearbox was broken with five laps to go. It is very disappointing because I was running well. The last stint, I was running in fifth and sixth without the left front wing. We learned a lot of things this weekend and also qualified well. Everyone on the team did a great job. Today, I had a little bit of a problem with understeer and that was getting worse lap by lap. Tom Anderson gave me a good strategy and I was able to stay in front at the end which was very good. I just need to focus now on the next race at Motegi."
Tom Anderson, Managing Director:
"The Panasonic team is pretty happy with Kosuke's performance today. As we all know, street racing equals street fighting and the fans had a good look at that on television today. There was a lot of bumping and banging going on out there. Unfortunately, the Panasonic car suffered from a little bit of that banging later on. We lost the left front wing in one battle and did some damage to the left rear bodywork and also the gearbox which eventually cost Kosuke a good finish today. The damage to the gearbox caused an oil leak and ran the gearbox out of oil. It was a tough day on the streets but I think everyone had some fun in the sun in St. Petersburg. It was a great event and Honda has to be commended for this inaugural race. Firestone had a fantastic tire here, and it was certainly fuel strategy today as no one was pitting for tires. A fantastic event but, unfortunately, we didn't fare too well."