Sunday, 2 June 2013

Pagenaud Takes Maiden Win In Motor City - Dual In Detroit Race 2 Review

Simon Pagenaud claimed his first IndyCar series win after beating James Jakes and Mike Conway to the Checkered flag in Race 2 of the Duals in Detroit.

In what was almost a carbon copy of yesterday's race, Conway one again led at the green flag but the race was soon brought under caution as AJ Allmendinger once again crashed just before turn 3. Will Power led the field as they formed behind the pace car, amidst confusion as to whether he passed before or after the caution.

Power was the confirmed leader as the race resumed on lap five but his lead didn't last as Conway used his impressive pace to launch past him on the restart and begin to pull away.

The next caution came out on lap 9 as Simona De Silvestro crashed hard at turn eight, the Swiss commenting that the car wouldn't turn into the corner.

Once again, Conway held the lead at the restart but there was yet another full course caution courtesy of Alex Tagliani and Ed Carpenter. Carpenter rear-ended Tagliani going into turn the, causing severe damage to the Canadian's front wing as he hit the wall. both drivers pitted and were able to continue.

The race got underway on lap 16. EJ Viso and Helio Castroneves coming together as the field bunched up, Viso sustained damage to his front wing but both drivers kept racing, with Viso making an early pitstop. A lap later, Ryan Hunter-Reay hit the same wall as De Silvestro damaging the front of his car. He wrestled his crabbing car back to the pits as Conway maintained a 4.7 second lead over Will Power.

A fourth caution came out not long after due to debris, many of the runners made their pitstops, Conway however stayed out. The lap 24 restart didn't last long either as Sato hit the tyre wall at turn 3 after being hit by Tristan Vautier.

Another restart on lap on lap 28 resulted in a pileup involving several cars and the sixth caution of the day. The pileup involved no fewer than 10 cars, Will Power, Alex Tagliani, EJ Viso, Justin Wilson, Ed Carpenter, James Hinchcliffe, Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe, Graham Rahal and Sebastian Bourdais all caught up in the incident. The collision was triggered by Bourdaids bumping Power.

The carnage and following pitstops resulted in a reshuffle of the field as the race got underway once more on lap 38 with Kanaan leading from Vautier, Dario Franchitti and Bourdais. Mike Conway carved up the field, starting from eigth but easily passing the three Ganassi cars. Bourdais served a drive-through penalty at teh end of the lap for causing the 10 car incident.

Tristan Vautier took the lead on the next lap and Conway continued to move forward, moving up to second after passing Kanaan. Conway regained the lead at the end of lap 40 as Tristan Vautier came in to pit.

Conway lost the lead to Charlie Kimball on lap 46 after the Ganassi driver closed a gap of over four seconds to Conway as the Brit's tyres began to go off. He pitted a lap later after being passed by Simon Pagenaud, dropping back to third.

Pagenaud inherited the lead at the end of lap 49 as Kimball pitted, James Jakes, Marco Andretti and Dario Franchitti in second, third and fourth respectively. All but Franchitti still needing to make their final pitstop out of that leading group. Conway moved up to fifth on lap 50 with a late pass on Graham Rahal and Tristan Vautier, taking both in one move.

Pagenaud pitted on lap 55 but emerged ahead of Franchitti and Conway, with Jakes still leading but yet to make his final pitstop. Conway passed Franchitti with 14 laps to go, moving up to third behind Pagenaud and Jakes who pitted a lap later from a 22 second lead. The lead was not enough as he was passed by Pagenaud as he emerged from the pits on lap 58.

With 5 laps to go Simon Pagenaud's lead was over four seconds, James Jakes in third with compatriot Mike Conway a further second back and closing.

Pagenaud cruised to win by over five and a half seconds with James Jakes finishing a career best second, taking advantage of his extra remaining Push-To-Pass uses to stay ahead of Mike Conway who came home third. The Target Ganassi cars rounded out the top five with Scott Dixon finishing fourth ahead of Dario Franchitti.

Pagenaud's win makes him the third first time winner of the 2013 season and the sixth different race winner this year.

Helio Castroneves retains the poits lead, tied with Marco Andretti with 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay in third and Scott Dixon in third. Simon Pagenaud's win moves him up to fifth in the standings.

There's not rest for the IZOD IndyCar Series as the championship returns to oval racing on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone 550.

Picture credit - IndyCar Media 

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