On July 14 French citizens celebrate Bastille Day to commemorate the French Revolution. Frenchmen Simon Pagenaud and Tristan Vautier hoped to kick off a revolution of their own today in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto, but both were stymied en route to the checkered flag.
Pagenaud and Vautier started 12th and 16th in the first-ever standing start in IZOD IndyCar Series history. The 85-lap race on the 1.75-mile street circuit featured plenty of action for both drivers, but both finished the race in the exact same spots they started.
“It was a weekend for us to forget with results, but I think we learned a lot,” Pagenaud said. “I’m not pleased with 12th, but if you consider all of the things that went wrong for us it wasn’t bad. I think we made the best of our situation, so I’ll take that positive away from the weekend.”
Pagenaud’s No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car experienced an issue with fueling in pit lane for his first pit stop, which ultimately put him a lap down when he had to come in earlier than scheduled for his second stop. He was able to gain his lap back later in the race however, and leaves the Honda Indy Toronto fifth in the championship point standings.
“Today told us exactly what we need to test in the HP car at Mid-Ohio,” he said. “It’s certainly nice that we’ll get a break after this race too. It will give us a breather to take a look over things as a team and for me as a driver to improve. Some of the other teams are excelling right now and we need to be right there with them.”
Tristan Vautier, driving the No. 55 VisitFlorida.com/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car, gained several spots at the drop of the green flag for the Honda Indy Toronto.
“We had another good start and run going but had an issue with fueling, which meant I had to pit early for my second stop and went a lap down,” Vautier said. “Then I miss-judged a pass on the back straight which took a small piece off the front of my wing.”
Vautier pitted early again to change his front wing, which cost him more time to the leaders. The IZOD IndyCar Series rookie was running 16th at the conclusion of the race.
“I do think our pace was good today and we ran really well in the first stint,” Vautier said. “It’s just a shame for the team and VisitFlorida.com. I’m really anxious to put a good result together but I think maybe I need to stop trying so hard and let the race come to me. We’re going to keep pushing as hard as we can.”
Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing won Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto, sweeping both of the weekend’s races. Helio Castroneves of Team Penske and Sebastien Bourdais of Dragon Racing ended the day in second and third. The race was slowed by three caution periods for a total of nine laps.
Tristan Vautier and Simon Pagenaud will return to action in the IZOD IndyCar Series on August 4th for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. For the latest team updates during the break, follow @SPMIndyCar on Twitter.