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IndyCar Road America

Grosjean “proud” of strong result for JHR after controversial week

Romain Grosjean gave Juncos Hollinger Racing a much-needed positive result in Road America following a controversial week for the IndyCar team.

Romain Grosjean, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet

The weekend didn’t start well for the 38-year-old Swiss-born Frenchman after crashing on his first flying lap of opening practice last Friday.

Even with the lack of track time, and after qualifying 14th in mixed weather conditions, Grosjean still thought the pace was there to play for something in the 55-lap race.

After dodging the early mayhem and utilising a three-stop strategy – starting on the softer alternates and switching to harder primary tires for the after the first stop – he was fighting in the top 10.

Grosjean was able to pull off a pass on Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward on the final lap to finish seventh, his second top 10 of the season and best finish with JHR.

The result provided a boost to JHR, which endured controversy over the last week involving Agustin Canapino that led to the termination of a strategic alliance with Arrow McLaren.

“It feels like we deserve more,” Grosjean said. “I don’t know where people disappeared ’cause I felt like we had pace with O’Ward, with [Kyle] Kirkwood, with [Alexander] Rossi, [Christian] Lundgaard, [Marcus] Ericsson.

“Obviously, some guys had a bit more pace than we had, but the car felt amazing and I’m very proud of where we ended.

“We’ve done such a great work. After nothing Friday, warm-up was our first lap in the dry and we ended up really good.”

Romain Grosjean, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet

Romain Grosjean, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

Arrow McLaren rookie Theo Pourchaire drew the ire of Canapino's fans after colliding with him in the Detroit Grand Prix.

Pourchaire then flagged the abuse he'd received on his social media channels, which led to more online hate being thrown his way.

Canapino, its 34-year-old Argentine driver, interacted with several posts on social media from fans directed at Pourchaire, along with that a statement which rejected claims that his supporters had threatened rivals.

As a result, Canapino took “a leave of absence” for Road America and was replaced by Indy NXT full-timer Nolan Siegel, who finished 23rd.

“They've been very strong,” Grosjean said of his team. “They just focused on the racing and on the race and do the best we can.

“I apologised to my engineer [Saturday] night because after quali I was a bit angry, because I knew we had more than what we had. I told him, 'You know, I want more for you guys because I know we can do more.'

“And I think [in the race] we showed it. Pace was very strong. Don't think the yellows helped us in a normal strategy, but we did such a great job. I'm very proud of them.”

Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, Romain Grosjean, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet, crash

Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, Romain Grosjean, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet, crash

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

A flurry of tough results plagued Grosjean going back to early April, including a couple of run-ins with AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci at Barber Motorsports Park and the Indianapolis Road Course, as well as getting hit by Lundgaard in Detroit.

“I need some luck and [it] was a normal race,” Grosjean said. “No luck on our side, but I feel like we've been strong all year. In Detroit, we were doing really well, and we got unlucky.

“At Barber, we were strong, but our strategy didn't work. Indy road course with Santino. Honestly, I think we've done a very good job this year, very consistent, trying not to make mistakes.

“I was not very happy after Friday, but we bounced back nicely.”

After netting his best result since finishing second for Andretti Autosport at Barber last year, Grosjean jetted to Europe contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Iron Lynx-run Lamborghini squad this weekend.

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