25 Aug

“MY PRAYERS ARE WITH JUSTIN, HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS”

ABC SUPPLY 500 (POCONO) – AUGUST 23

16C_8122-2Three weeks after his podium finish at Mid-Ohio, Simon Pagenaud hit the ground running at the Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania, home of the penultimate round of the 2015 IndyCar Series. The fight for grid positions saw the Frenchman post the second-best time – his seventh top-three qualifying result of the season, and his 12th in the top five. The next day’s 500-mile race saw the N°22 Team Penske Dallara-Chevrolet get away to a strong start to appear in front for the first time on Lap 28, two laps before his first refuelling stop during a yellow-flag interruption. By Lap 66, he was back at the pack’s sharp end and, on Lap 79, he was in the lead again. A re-start on Lap 138 saw him take control once more, this time for 30 laps before he dropped back during the final part of the race which was marked by several more interruptions. He still managed to hold seventh place at the chequered flag. The last clash of the year will take teams to the Sonoma road course where championship points will count double. The memory of Justin Wilson, who has died as a result of injuries sustained in a crash at Pocono, will naturally be in everybody’s minds when everyone reconvenes in California.

SimonSimon Pagenaud: “Above all, my thoughts and prayers go out to Justin, his family and friends. Until I heard the sad news, I thought we had put in a great race – on the track and in the pits. The first 150 laps went really well as I tried to save fuel in my Chevy Penske Truck-backed car which handled fantastically all weekend. I think I’ve got the best car in the championship but things didn’t pan out in our favour when the yellow flags started to come out. Unfortunately, I was at the wrong place at the wrong time for one of the re-starts towards the end. Sage Karam didn’t get away well in front and the regulations meant I was forced to stay in-line behind him. I lost my momentum and it cost me several positions. I dropped from third to 11th but managed to fight back to seventh. There were more interruptions before the flag and I was unable to make up any more ground than that. The team that works on my car did a great job, though. I am very proud of them!”

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