1st PODIUM 2021 FOR THE FRENCH SIMON PAGENAUD AT ST PETERSBURG IN INDYCAR
Simon Pagenaud and the # 22 Dallara / Chevrolet Australian Gold used a solid qualifying session and good pace to finish third on Sunday afternoon in Saint-Petersburg, and take the first podium of the season.
Pagenaud managed to reach the “Fast Six” on Saturday in qualifying and took the start of the race in fourth position. At the start of Sunday’s race, the shiny golden Chevrolet maintained its fourth position. After the first wave of pit stops, Pagenaud and the No.22 team gained a position and took third place thanks to a clear stop.
During the remainder of the race, Pagenaud retained his third position until the last pit stops. Two yellow flags at the end of the race narrowed the gaps, but the No.22 was unable to overtake the first two cars driven by winner Colton Herta and Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden. Pagenaud leaves with a third place for his first podium in 2021.
Simon Pagenaud: “Great weekend! Glad I had sunglasses and sunscreen. The race was hot, but we are very happy with the outcome. We had a car that was perfect on long runs with little tire wear. The strategy was excellent. We had chances at restarts, but it was too slippery inside to go. I noticed it when I tried to pass Jack (Harvey). I actually lost the race at the start of the first stint, but overall it was a great performance for the # 22 team. Hats off to my mechanics, because we made the best saves on the field. There are still two positions to go. We really found our rhythm. The next race in Texas is on an oval where we are very competitive, so we have high hopes. This bodes well for the rest of the championship. «
This third place allows Pagenaud to move from 12th to 5th place in the championship, just 13 points from first place.
Starting this weekend, the next two races will take place on the Texas Motor Speedway Oval, on Saturday May 1 and Sunday May 2.
Pictures : INDYVAR-TEAM
SIMON PAGENAUD IN BRIEF
Simon Pagenaud is back in 2021 for a seventh season in INDYCAR with the Penske team, the most successful North American single-seater team. Pagenaud won the 2019 edition of the Indianapolis 500 with flying colors and became the first Frenchman to win “the greatest race in the world” in 99 years. Pagenaud’s track record in INDYCAR includes 15 victories, 13 pole positions (including that of 500 miles in 2019), the title of INDYCAR Series champion in 2016 and vice-champion in 2017 and 2019. The native of Montmorillon, near Poitier, has was voted best rookie in 2012 and won the ALMS LMP American Endurance Championship in 2010.
In 2021, he also took part in four races (Daytona – Sebring – Watkins Glen – Petit Le Mans) of the American IMSA endurance championship within the Action Express Racing team.
THE 2021 CALENDAR OF THE INDYCAR SERIES
April 18: Barber Motorsports Park
April 25: Streets of St. Petersburg
May 1: Texas Motor Speedway race 1
May 2: Texas Motor Speedway race 2
May 15: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
May 30: 105th edition of Indianapolis 500
June 12: The Raceway at Belle Isle Park course 1
June 13: The Raceway at Belle Isle Park course 2
June 20: Road America
July 4: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
July 11: Streets of Toronto
August 8: Streets of Nashville
August 14: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
August 21: World Wide Technology Raceway
September 12: Portland Grand Prix
September 19: Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca
September 26: Streets of Long Beach