x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Penske finally win at Watkins Glen as Power extends lead

Will Power ended Penske's victory jinx at Watkins Glen on Sunday as he triumphed to increase his lead in the Indycar championship series.

Will Power ended Penske's victory jinx at Watkins Glen on Sunday as he triumphed to increase his lead in the Indycar championship series. Penske drivers had claimed the first five IndyCar poles at Watkins Glen but had never been able to win the race. Power changed that. After starting from pole he dominated proceedings, leading 45 of 60 laps around the 11-turn, 5.5-kilometre circuit, to take his third victory of the season.

He defeated teammate and fellow Australian Ryan Briscoe by 1.2 seconds. "It was a difficult race," Power said. "I loved it." Dario Franchitti, the 2009 champion, was third, followed by the Brazilians Raphael Matos and Mario Moraes. After the second and final full-course caution, Power was beaten out of the pits by Briscoe and was second at the green signal on lap 44. Power quickly regained first place however, overtaking Briscoe entering the chicane at the top of the hill.

"I knew that was my only chance," Power said. "I made sure I got a good restart and got a run on him." Two laps later Franchitti overtook Briscoe for second at the same spot. However, the Ganassi driver never really challenged Power, and Briscoe overtook Franchitti to regain second place entering the 90-degree first turn of the final lap to secure the one-two finish for Penske. "I was pushing 100 per cent from start to finish," Briscoe said.

"I wanted to keep the pressure on. I wish I could have held on to the win." Power now leads the standings by 35 points ahead of Franchitti, who moved up to second in the points table at the expense of teammate Scott Dixon. Dixon could only finish eighth, after losing ground early on following a collision with the Penske of Helio Castroneves, which required pit-stops for repairs for both cars. The next round of the series is in Toronto on July 18.

* AFP