RAPAHEL MATOS OVERCOMES TELEMETRY ISSUES TO FINISH CAREER-BEST FOURTH ON THE FOURTH AT WATKINS GLE N WATKINS GLEN, NY (July 4, 2010) - Buoyed by a determined de Ferran Dragon pit crew, Raphael Matos...
RAPAHEL MATOS OVERCOMES TELEMETRY ISSUES TO FINISH CAREER-BEST FOURTH ON THE FOURTH AT WATKINS GLE N
WATKINS GLEN, NY (July 4, 2010) - Buoyed by a determined de Ferran Dragon pit crew, Raphael Matos overcame problems with his telemetry and put together a strong run to finish a career-best fourth at the IZOD IndyCar Camping World Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.
Matos lost all telemetry in the car on the 17th lap and had to rely completely on radio communication with team, but never allowed the issue to distract him from matching his career-best finish. It was his third top 10 of the season and second top 5. He finished fourth in the season opening race in Sao Paulo.
"We lost all the telemetry right before our first pit stop and that made things quite difficult," Matos said. "I had the wrong numbers on the dash so I couldn't tell them what kind of mileage I was doing. But we have some talented engineers and they were able to calculate everything perfectly."
The team's strong performance was evident early in the race when Matos climbed from a season-best 11th place starting position to seventh by lap nine. When he passed Justin Wilson five laps later he was in the top 5. And then the telemetry went down, but it never slowed Matos down. He gained one spot on the first pit stop and then passed Dario Franchitti on lap 20 during the race's first restart to move into third place.
"We keep talking within the team about executing on race day and the whole team gets 10 out of 10 today," team president and managing partner Gil de Ferran said. "First, the engineers made some great decisions overnight and the crew made the car reliable. Second, we have been struggling lately with pit stops, but the crew was flawless today and even gained us a position on one of the stops. And last but certainly not least, Rafa drove a champion's race today. He was calm, cool and collected. He was extremely fast all day, running at the same pace as the leaders and attacked when he needed. In short he was flawless and drove a really smart race."
Matos held firm in third place until the team's final pit stop on lap 38. Franchitti was able to last one more lap on fuel and moved ahead of Matos heading into the final stint. While Dan Wheldon and Mario Moraes gave chase, Matos never gave ground and remained in fourth the rest of the way.
With the fourth place finish, Matos picked up 32 points and moved up two spots to 12th in the championship standings with 174 points.
"This feels so great," Matos said. "All credit to the team. We've had some really tough races lately, but they worked really hard and certainly deserved this result. It's huge to have a good result going into this string of races. We learned so much at this event and I think that's really going to help us going into the upcoming races."
-source: de ferran dragon racing