WHEEL TO WHEEL AT CHICAGOLAND Pippa Mann narrowly missed out on her first Firestone Indy Lights win, after the third closest finish in the series' history saw Mann come home in second position at Chicagoland Speeday. The ...
WHEEL TO WHEEL AT CHICAGOLAND
Pippa Mann narrowly missed out on her first Firestone Indy Lights win, after the third closest finish in the series' history saw Mann come home in second position at Chicagoland Speeday.
The #11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports car had started on the outside of the front-row, behind the AFS car of fellow Brit Martin Plowman. The two were side by side for the first six laps, until Plowman's team mate Charlie Kimball, and Gustavo Yacaman (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) tangled on the exit of turn two.
On the re-start, Mann again put Plowman under pressure, as she moved onto the outside of the #27 car, drawing level for the lead but not able to make the pass on the high line. Plowman refused to give up the bottom of the race track, and on lap 30, Ploman's right rear wheel made contact with Mann's front wing. Plowman drifted back down the order and was forced to pit for a new tyre.
Mann took the lead and held it on the re-start, as team mate J.K. Vernay slotted in behind the #11 car. Mann put in an impressive performance under pressure, and retained the lead through a further two caution periods. With five laps to go, the field took the green flag for the final time, with James Hinchcliffe (Team Moore Racing) on her rear wing. The two battled side by side in the closing laps, with the #11 car on the inside and just ahead. As they came out of turn four for the final time, Hinchcliffe moved up and found the momentum to inch ahead of Mann. A photo finish decided the race, with Mann just shy of her first win in the series, but taking her best finish of the season as consolation.
Speaking about the result, Mann said: "Speaking about the result, Mann said: "We went into this race focused on a car that would run well in a pack and in traffic, because it's always a big pack race here for the Firestone Indy lights. Unfortunately when I got out front in clean air, we were a little too conservative. It was definitely still the right call in my opinion - I was still faster than everyone else out there once I got into the lead, except one guy. And unfortunately by the time we got to the last two re-starts, I knew that Hinchcliffe was the worst possible person to have behind me, and I mean that in a totally complimentary way.
"He was just the fastest man out there today, he drove a great race, and beat me fair and square. We were so close throughout the whole of the last lap, but as soon as we got to the line, I knew he'd crossed it first. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit heart-broken right now, but I'm sure by tomorrow I'll start to feel better about it. The bottom line is, I did everything I could but in the end, the better guy beat me today. Congrats to Hinch and Team Moore Racing."
Mann will be back in action next weekend as the Firestone Indy Lights series moves to Kentucky for the penultimate race of the 2010 season.
-source: pippa mann PR