Rossi caps dominant Long Beach weekend with victory
Rossi caps dominant Long Beach weekend with victory
16 April, 2018, 15:40
Rossi claimed the first win of his season from the pole in his Andretti Autosport Honda which moved him into the IndyCar points lead after three races. Reigning title holder Josef Newgarden now sits second in the points behind Rossi, four-time Champ Car title victor Sebastien Bourdais is fourth, Scott Dixon, Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay lie sixth, seventh and eighth respectively, Tony Kanaan is 11th, and Simon Pagenaud is mired in 16th after being eliminated from Long Beach by an opening lap accident.
"When you look at how Rossi has come on and the rookies that are here this year, guys like [Robert] Wickens and so on, it just gets harder and harder".
Rossi was able to keep Power at bay when the race resumed four laps later despite being at a disadvantage in push-to-pass, which allows the driver to activate a boost of turbocharger pressure and additional horsepower.
"When you add in the Scott Dixons and the Will Powers of the world; guys that just - all they know is winning - and then you combine it with drivers who are massively talented like Rob and Jordan King, and these rookies who are making an impression, Zach Veach, who drove from P17 to fourth today".
Rossi spent his early racing career in Europe, and his extended family back home in California hardly ever saw him in person.
After clinching the Verizon P1 award on Saturday for putting the auto on pole position by almost 0.5secs, Rossi was able to run an inspired two-stop strategy in the race which not one of his rivals was able to replicate.
Rossi doesn't have many victories yet, but they're all monsters: The 2016 Indianapolis 500 victor and veteran of five Formula One races also won at Watkins Glen late a year ago. "Yeah, you'll have to beat him, I think". Corrects Pagenaud's first name to Simon in third paragraph.
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Rossi was a contestant on the most recent season of the CBS reality show The Amazing Race alongside fellow driver Conor Daly, who attended the race in Long Beach despite not now having an IndyCar ride.
Will said in the press conference after the race that he now considered Rossi as the potential favourite for this year's championship, whilst also going on to praise the high calibre of drivers in the series at the moment.
Power started and finished second in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, leading six laps. Other notables included Marco Andretti in sixth, defending series champion Josef Newgarden in seventh and 2017 Long Beach race victor James Hinchcliffe in ninth.
Rossi's win means he now leads the championship by 22 points going into the next race at Barber Motorsport Park just one week away on April 22. "He was just really, really good".
Despite being brought back into the field numerous times thanks to a handful of caution periods over the course of the 85 laps, the 2016 Indy 500 victor was able to pull away from the chasing pack with relative ease at every time of asking, even on the final restart where Will Power hounded the local driver right to the chequered flag.
Rossi was losing ground when he pitted again on the 56th lap, but he got a break when Sebastien Bourdais and Dixon were penalised for entering a closed pit lane during a caution. Those opportunities were seized by many drivers - particularly Bourdais, who executed a jaw-dropping move to pass diagonally through three drivers.
Bourdais was ordered to give back the position to Dixon because he apparently used the pit lane to make his move, but Bourdais caught and passed Dixon anyway. Rahal was assessed a drive-thru penalty for the avoidable contact. Rossi resumed the lead after Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay made their respective stops on Laps 30 and 31.
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