Pagenaud wins wild Baltimore race

Pagenaud wins wild Baltimore race

1 September 2013 – Simon Pagenaud won a chaotic Grand Prix of Baltimore on Sunday, the Frenchman keeping his cool to claim his second victory of the season as many of those around him either spun into the wall or collided with rivals. Josef Newgarden finished in second position, ahead of ex-Formula 1 driver Sébastien Bourdais.

As in Sonoma a week ago, relations between the Penske and Ganassi teams were tested to the limit, with Will Power this time the instigator of hostilities. At the start, the Australian usurped pole-sitter Scott Dixon for the lead, but several caution periods saw the pair drop back into the pack by the mid-race mark. The defining incident came on Lap 52; Power, while attempting to overtake Bourdais, moved across the track straight into Dixon, sending his championship rival into the inside wall.

The clash was one of many on the carnage-filed Baltimore streets, with the middle phase of the race held almost entirely under yellow flags. Amid the high rate of attrition, the eventual winner seemed ever-more likely to be the driver who could keep his car away from the barriers and the increasing on-track debris for the longest.

And it was Pagenaud who proved that discretion was the better part of valour around the narrow circuit, running a relatively clean race to propel himself into victory contention at the final restart. The Sam Schmidt Motorsports man dispatched Marco Andretti with seven laps to run, before holding off a closing Newgarden to triumph.

Justin Wilson wound up fourth, followed by Simona de Silvestro and Charlie Kimball. Andretti Autosport's James Hinchcliffe was next up, leading home the Dragon Racing machine of Sebastián Saavedra. Hélio Castroneves recovered from the early loss of his front wing following a first lap accident to finish ninth. Despite the problems, the Brazilian extends his championship lead to 49 over Dixon, with the New Zealander failing to register any points on the board. Andretti rounded out the top ten positions, his well-punished tyres having fallen off the cliff in the final stages.

After two action-packed weekends, there is a break of one month until the next race of the season, with the field reconvening on October 5 for the Grand Prix of Houston.

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