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Honda GP of St Petersburg Race Report

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 12:15

Lotus’ IndyCar engine debut showed a lot of promise, but with minimal testing reliability was a victim. Three of the five Lotus-engined cars failed to finish, but Sebastian Bourdais’ Lotus Dragon Racing car was in play for a top five finale and a lot of vital data was gained throughout the weekend. The potential is there, they just need to iron out the creases.

Indycar, Streets of St Petersburg 2012, Katherine Legge, sebastien bourdais,  Dragon RacingBourdais, (#7), started 26th and last but fought his way up to the sharp end. “I was able to match some of the top running drivers, at certain times, during the race. I was running in the top 10, then in top five. I was P1 from sectors 4 to 8. But then, all of a sudden, it was like the ignition went off. The car just stopped, with so few laps left in the race”. The issue was traced to an electrical problem.

Just a few laps into the race, Katherine Legge’s (#6) Lotus Dragon Racing stalled on the front straight bringing out the first caution flag. The car was towed back to pitlane, where the team re-started it and Legge re-joined the field. Throughout the race, Legge experienced shifting and throttle problems, causing the car to lose power. After two thirds of the race, the #6 car stopped at the end of the front straight leaking fluids.

Lotus HVM Racing’s Simona De Silvestro (#78) had high hopes going into today’s race. Unfortunately, the team suffered a setback when the car stalled on track on lap 23. Unable to restart the car in pit lane, the team pushed the car to the garage, working frantically to fix the issue and get Simona back into the race. Unfortunately, they missed the cut off of 15 laps to go.

Alex Tagliani IndyCar BHA Bryan Herta Autosport St Petersburg 2012Alex Tagliani (#98) and his Lotus-BHA crew earned a fifteenth place finish, the highest of the Lotus-powered cars in the competition. The team made consistent improvements throughout the race weekend, leading up to Saturday's qualifying effort, where Tagliani earned P17 on the starting grid. On Sunday, the Canadian driver completed 100 incident-free laps.

Lotus-DRR’s Indycar, Streets of St Petersburg 2012, Oriol Servia, DRROriol Servia (#22) finished 16th. On Lap 12, Oriol pitted on the same lap before the yellow came out, making his a three-stop strategy. Servia pitted again on Lap 43, receiving a full fill of fuel and switched from the alternate tyres to primaries. As he was leaving pit lane, the #2 machine stalled several times due to the clutch not being able to engage. Oriol was unable to put the car into first gear as result and he lost a lap. Oriol came in for the final time on Lap 72 to fill full with fuel. He was excited to finish the race.

Oriol Servia, Lotus Dreyer & Reinbold Racing: "I'm the happiest I've been all weekend. I was pulling away in the corners. We're lacking top speed, there's no doubt, but I'm super encouraged at the improvement that we made with the car. We had a little hiccup with the clutch. Those are mechanical things that in racing you cannot avoid, especially with a new car. We kept our heads down after a tough qualifying and we came up with a good racecar, which gives me confidence for the next 15 races."

Claudio Berro, Director of Lotus Racing: “The performance of the Lotus cars during the race was good, but we still need to work on the car to improve it. We got going six months later than the other two big manufacturers. It was not easy to arrive this weekend on top. We improved the engineering in some areas. We were confident that the teams would give us good support, and they did. In order to speed things up, all the Lotus teams decided to share the data right from the beginning. We need to work on the mapping, the throttle. Three out of five cars didn’t finish, for different reasons. We need to go back and analyze these engines. We have a lot of information to compute, if we are going to go forward. But, we feel good about everything we have learned this weekend, and we will improve week by week.”

Streets of St Petersburg Photo Gallery