Power closes to within five points of Franchitti after victory at Baltimore
|By Mark Glendenning||Sunday, September 4th 2011, 21:30 GMT|
Will Power survived what he described as the 'toughest race of the whole year' to be crowned the inaugural winner of IndyCar's Baltimore Grand Prix.
In warm and humid conditions, Power triumphed on an eventful afternoon that included a pile-up involving nearly half the field to cross the line just over 10s ahead of Newman/Haas Racing's Oriol Servia.
"I've never driven so hard in my whole life," Power said. "I gave it absolutely everything. I'm exhausted. I reckon that's probably one of my best race wins ever."
The result brings Power to within five points of current championship leader Dario Franchitti.
Tony Kanaan recovered from an airborne crash during warm-up that forced him to start from the back of the field to finish a remarkable third, the Brazilian's result being achieved through a combination of good strategy, good race pace and a bit of opportunism when the pile-up took place on lap 37.
The crash, which occurred on a restart following an earlier caution period, was triggered when Ryan Briscoe made contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay while trying to pass the Andretti driver for fourth at Turn 3. Hunter-Reay spun, triggering a huge concertina behind him.
Briscoe was penalised for his role in the incident, but remarkably only Giorgio Pantano and James Jakes were forced out with damage. Nevertheless, the traffic jam prompted a dramatic reshuffle of the order between positions six and 28.
Franchitti finished fourth; the Scot surviving a brush with the inside wall that knocked him into a half-spin.
The Ganassi racer was on target for second, but lost out when he rejoined the track after his final stop to find himself in a train of cars that had formed behind Servia, allowing Power to escape down the road.
Franchitti's team-mate Scott Dixon managed fifth despite suffering two punctures, with Danica Patrick sixth.
Results - 75 laps:
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Will Power Penske 2h02m19.4998s 2. Oriol Servia Newman/Haas + 10.2096s 3. Tony Kanaan KV + 10.8557s 4. Dario Franchitti Ganassi + 11.0831s 5. Scott Dixon Ganassi + 11.5032s 6. Alex Tagliani Sam Schmidt + 17.7124s 7. Danica Patrick Andretti + 18.5661s 8. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti + 18.9269s 9. Vitor Meira Foyt + 22.3096s 10. Graham Rahal Ganassi + 22.6977s 11. Martin Plowman AFS/Sam Schmidt + 23.7405s 12. Simona de Silvestro HVM + 24.7568s 13. Sebastian Saavedra Conquest + 29.6042s 14. Ryan Briscoe Penske + 30.9855s 15. EJ Viso KV + 50.6756s 16. Ana Beatriz Dreyer & Reinbold + 60.5667s 17. Helio Castroneves Penske + 1 lap 18. Takuma Sato KV + 2 laps 19. JR Hildebrand Panther + 2 laps 20. Ed Carpenter Sarah Fisher + 2 laps 21. Charlie Kimball Ganassi + 2 laps 22. Tomas Scheckter Dreyer & Reinbold + 4 laps 23. Mike Conway Andretti + 11 laps Retirements: James Hinchcliffe Newman/Haas 54 laps Marco Andretti Andretti 40 laps Giorgio Pantano Dreyer & Reinbold 39 laps James Jakes Dale Coyne 37 laps Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne 9 laps