Franchitti plagued by reliability problems

Dario Franchitti was in particularly impressive form at Motegi this weekend and after starting from second on the grid, the Scot made a number of aggressive passes only to retire late on with a broken exhaust header.

Franchitti plagued by reliability problems

Franchittli dropped to fifth after the first round of pit stops and worked his way back to second and was running a strong fourth when the component failure ended his day.

"I was going into turn one and the car started sounding bad, so I got out of the power and came in to the pits," Franchitti said. "It looks like it was a broken header. It's very frustrating because Team KOOL Green gave me an excellent car today. Everything was working well up until that point. It felt good to be running up front and I was hoping to at least get on the podium."

All three of the Team Kool Green cars showed well in Japan, but after featuring strongly in the race, both of Franchitti's team mates - Paul Tracy and Michael Andretti in the Motorola-backed car - succumbed to poor reliabilty.

Tracy qualified only 15th, but his usual race day pace came to the fore early in the contest. A brilliant first pit stop elevated him from ninth to third, and he passed eventual winner Kenny Brack for second on Lap 62. But a broken gearbox parked the Canadian just 12 laps later.

"Paul lost a gear and that must have taken some of the others with it - he could only find one gear," said Tracy's crew chief, Eric Haverson. "We had no indication of any gearbox problems all weekend. We're not sure what caused it, but obviously we'll have a close look at it when we get back to the shop. We were having a great race right up until then.

"The car was handling well, Paul looked like he was on a mission today and the Team KOOL Green crew did an awesome job on the first stop to get Paul up to third place. We all know there will be days like this, but it doesn't make it any easier."

Andretti in the team's third car was also eliminated by a gearbox problem.

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