Firestone Indy Lights: Grand Prix of Baltimore
Topics: Grand Prix of Baltimore
September 2, 2012
THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by two of our podium finishers, Gustavo Yacaman, who finished second, and Esteban Guerrieri, who finished third.
Gustavo, walk us through today's race, especially the opening laps.
GUSTAVO YACAMAN: I mean, the first time I had contact with Esteban, you know, it's a shame. I had a very, very good car. We had some mechanical issues in qualifying that didn't allow us to qualify a little bit more up front.
We definitely got those fixed for today. I had a winning car. I had a really, really good car. The impact with Esteban just shattered all the chances of a better result.
But, you know, I can't complain. We finished second. In the end of the day it was a very good result. Fifth podium of the season, completed every lap since race one. So I think consistency is the name of the game.
THE MODERATOR: Esteban, you started on the front row. Obviously a tough race for you. You still have a shot at the title. Walk us through today's race and looking ahead to Fontana.
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI: Today's race wasn't the best one. Lacking pace in the race. Here it didn't look like we had it either. So basically not really happy.
Obviously, want to fight for positions and go to the front. But it didn't work out. Of course, it's good to finish the race. In the end I got a podium and get the points to still get the shot at Fontana. It's not the way you want to do it. I want to be quick and go forward, and it's not working.
But we have to sit down in our life. What is done is done. But still going to push for the last one, for sure.
THE MODERATOR: We've been joined by our race winner, Tristan Vautier.
Tristan, your second consecutive win on a street course here, took the win to maximize the points today. Talk about today's race.
TRISTAN VAUTIER: Well, it was a great weekend, a great race. Really satisfying. It was not an easy race, not an easy weekend. The track is very intense, technical. It was a lot of work in the car.
At some point we're all fighting for the title, everyone wants it so bad, I knew everyone was going to give it all. Esteban and I broke really late. From the inside I managed to keep the lead. From then I tried to push really hard on cold margins to make a little margin.
Then Gusty was behind me. I tried to maintain the gap without abusing the car. I knew the track was tough on the tires and on the brakes. It worked pretty well. By half distance, my tires were still really good. I was able to maintain lap times. Obviously, I was trying not to do a mistake, just drive very consistently.
The car was very solid. The tires stayed really good. Good success to Firestone for the tires, so that was really good. Obviously, a very big thanks to my team. They've done such a great job all year and this weekend was a zero-fault weekend. Car was great. Really happy to have an opportunity to drive for a great team due to a Mazda scholarship I got. It's a big opportunity for me. I really tried to make the most of it.
In the next two weeks from now we going to have the final. Getting back on the ovals, it's going to be important to get back on the pace on these type of tracks. I think with a good preparation, we can arrive and obviously have a good fight for the title. I have to do a great job and we'll see what happens. We'll give it all.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Gus, you had some damage to your car at the beginning. That may have affected the handling. Was the handling consistent throughout the race?
GUSTAVO YACAMAN: Yeah, it affected the handling terribly. I had just massive understeer everywhere. I couldn't take advantage of the braking, especially into turn one. I kept locking the wheels. I kept adding rear, rear, rear, rear brake. That was hurting me on the inside on the slower parts because I was locking the rears, going into the corners a little bit sideways. I couldn't maximize my whole car. Jut the balance was way off. I'm pretty sure the tows were knocked off a little bit from impact as well.
I'm just happy the car made it back home and it's going to roll on the truck and we're going to take it to Fontana and try to bring yet another podium.
Q. Did it get worse throughout the race?
GUSTAVO YACAMAN: Yeah, it kept getting worse. The tires started getting more understeer, more understeer. I was catching Tristan at the beginning of the race, but I saw I wasn't going to be able to keep that pace, especially because of the way these tires are, they kind of fall off a lot towards the end of the race. I didn't want that to happen.
I didn't have much pressure from behind, so at that point I just started taking care of the tires, taking care of the car, not pushing on the brakes to not create a bigger flat spot on that left front.
Towards the end of the race, I just managed the distance with Esteban. Carlos came really, really quick. I just had nothing for him. I just let him by and said bye. I don't know what happened to him later, but there was just no reason to even fight for that position with so many laps to go with a car that wasn't that good.
Sebastian was already out, so I didn't have any reason to force the issue.
THE MODERATOR: Esteban and Tristan, you have been strong on a variety of courses this year, street courses, ovals. Talk about the final race of the season coming down to the two-mile oval at Fontana.
TRISTAN VAUTIER: You know, it's a track where it's way different from the street courses and road courses. The setup of the car has a big influence. As a driver, your feedback is very important, the information you give to your team has a lot of importance. You can get the car free enough, but not too much, not be able to (indiscernible) too much speed.
We drove at Fontana. The track is pretty challenging because it's very wide and very big, but the banking is not very big and it's bumpy. It's going to be interesting.
We're going to have to work well with the engineers to get a car that handles well on the track. Yeah, it's just a different approach from street courses and road courses. You really focus on what you have to tell the team.
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI: Adding to what Tristan said, it's different to what we are used to until now. We tested there, it's not so easy. Some people think it's a two-mile oval, easy flat, like Vegas. But it's totally different, bumpy. There's a lot of things that come a different way in the race. We basically don't know what to expect because it's a new track, we haven't been there last year. It's a new track for us.
It's going to be interesting for the race. It's going to be a long race. Maybe there the tires play a factor like they did at Indy basically. It was very challenging for the tire.
These are going to be the things we have to take care, go and try to do the best we can.
Q. Tristan, I wanted your thoughts on how you thought the track held up. I don't know if you were here last year or not, but if there was any difference in the performance of the track.
TRISTAN VAUTIER: Yeah, I was here last year in Star Mazda. The main difference was the chicane, which was different this year, more challenging, faster, much easier to do a big mistake that could cost you the race.
The rest of the track, the other chicane, has been put behind the other one. It was much slower, bigger brake zone, so more challenging on the brakes on the car, and the braking technique for the driver as well.
The rest of the track did not change much. Maybe a few inches here and there with the walls, but nothing much different. So it was good for me to have the experience in Star Mazda to be able to learn the track fast this time.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, congratulations on a great race and best of luck in Fontana.
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|