Air Jack Problem Costs Wirdheim

Rookie Bjorn Wirdheim broke into the Champ Car top six for the first time at Las Vegas but felt that he was robbed of a potential podium when his air jack failed during his first pitstop

The race could have been crucial for Wirdheim, with reports suggesting that the former Formula 3000 Champion might have to stand down before the next round due to a budget shortfall.

He qualified a strong fifth and ran fourth in the first quarter of the race, even closing slightly on the duelling leaders, but then fell to tenth when the air jack problem cost him a lot of time at his first stop.

"It's a good result for my first time here, but I'm actually really disappointed because I think the air jack problem cost us a podium, or at least a shot at the podium," said Wirdheim.

"The car has been fantastic all weekend. My plan was just to stay behind the leaders and save my power-to-pass for the end of the race."

Wirdheim was passed by his HVM teammate Rodolfo Lavin in the final yards of the race, as the Mexican completed an impressive comeback charge.

He lost most of Friday practice to a gearbox problem, then had to switch to a hastily completed back-up car after crashing in the Friday evening session. An engine change was then required after further problems in the warm-up, and the chassis swap meant Lavin had to forfeit his seventh place on the grid and start at the back.

"The mechanics did a great job on the car," he said. "We had a very, very tough weekend and we went into the race just guessing how the car was going to be. I think fifth is a great result."

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