Sebastien Bourdais repeats his last year’s victory: In St. Petersburg, he benefits from a Wickens’ launch by Alexander Rossi.
The new era of the IndyCar series is over with a wild start to the season in St. Gallen. Petersburg has been rung in. Seven yellow phases, five of them in the first half of the race culminated in a collision in the penultimate lap between Robert Wickens (Schmidt-Peterson-Honda) and Alexander Rossi (Andretti-Honda). Robert Wickens was robbed of a certain victory when Rossi attacked too impetuously at the last restart. Bourdais went through and won for Dale Coyne, Jimmy Vasser and James Sullivan ahead of Graham Rahal (RLL Honda) and James Hinchcliffe (Schmidt-Peterson-Honda).
Wickens survived numerous dangers in this race until the last one was his downfall. The first one came from Will Power (Penske-Chevrolet) at the start, who did one of his brainless maneuvers, drove Wickens into the side, turning around and hitting the wall backwards. The Australian was able to continue and finished the race in tenth place.
Two yellow phases followed in short succession. At the first restart Jordan King (Carpenter-Chevrolet) passed Wickens, but he countered at the second restart. King was later to lose three laps due to a puncture – bad luck for the rookie.
From now on, two drivers determined the race: Wickens and Rossi. The third member of the alliance was Bourdais, who was forced into an alternative strategy by early puncture damage, but was thus at a disadvantage compared to his two opponents. So Wickens and Rossi passed the Frenchman at the last stop.
Now followed a hunt: Rossi began to put pressure on Wickens and to reach for the lead. The Canadian, however, remained icy cold and made no mistake. Rossi made this one himself when he slowed down during an overlap. Just when the race seemed to be over, Rene Binder (Juncos-Chevrolet) parked in turn 10 before the wall after a flawless race and triggered a yellow phase.
Wickens also survived the sixth restart without any problems, only to face the same problem again when Max Chilton (Carlin-Chevrolet) stopped after a spin. Then it came to a fatal restart of the Wickens suboptimal timte, Rossi went next to it, losing the car and pushing the Canadian into the wall.
A detailed report will follow shortly at this point.
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