x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Wilson ends the Penske and Ganassi domination

The Dale Coyne Racing team claim their first success in the Indycar Racing League with Justin Wilson driving superbly to victory at Watkins Glen.

Justin Wilson leads Ryan Briscoe during the IndyCar Series at Watkins Glen in New York.
Justin Wilson leads Ryan Briscoe during the IndyCar Series at Watkins Glen in New York.

The Dale Coyne Racing team claimed their first success in the Indycar Racing League on Sunday as Justin Wilson drove superbly to claim victory at Watkins Glen. The English driver won the ninth round of the season and broke the domination of the Penske and Ganassi teams, who had shared the first eight races of the season between them.

Having started second on the grid, Wilson moved into the lead on lap four with an out-braking manoeuvre on pole-sitter Ryan Briscoe's Penske. Wilson then pulled clear, and although he was briefly held up by Marco Andretti's Team Andretti car as he went to lap him, which allowed Briscoe to pull alongside, he was able to fend off the attack and maintain his lead until the end of the 60-lap race to claim his second win in the series.

A delighted Wilson told Indycar.com that the victory was a reward for the team's hard work in developing their car. "It feels fantastic. This is the most important win in my career; winning with Dale and showing what we can do," he said. "I was grinning from ear to ear on that last lap. We've worked all year to improve on the road courses, and to dominate is fantastic." Wilson was denied victory earlier in the season at St Petersburg by Briscoe, but this time he was not to be denied as he won by 4.9secs, and he added: "We came close at St. Petersburg, but I was too nice on the last restart and gave away the win. That wasn't going to happen today and here we are in Victory Lane."

Briscoe finished second, but was forced to work hard to earn the place as he dropped outside the top 10 after being forced to pit while the safety car was out after Richard Antinucci had spun to bring out the full course yellow. Good fuel conservation allowed him to move back up the order, and he almost beat Wilson out of the pitlane at his final stop, before having to settle for second spot. The Australian was content with his result, and said: "Unfortunately the yellow came and we had to make two pit stops. That put us back.

"We had to work hard to come through the field. We had some great pit stops and it was pretty exciting at the end." The Ganassi of Scott Dixon had his race compromised like Briscoe, but also bounced back to finish third and the podium finish was enough for him to take over top spot in the championship from teammate Dario Franchitti. The Scotsman finished 15th after losing a lap following a spin, and he now trails Dixon by 19 points.

Helio Castroneves was fourth in his Penske, with Andretti finishing fifth, and Mike Conway was sixth. The next round of the championship is on Sunday in Toronto. gcaygill@thenational.ae