– Fittipaldi places 16th after fuel saving gamble –
Sonoma, CA (September 16, 2018) – Dale Coyne Racing rookie Santino Ferrucci moved up the field in an impressive way on Sunday during the IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma to finish 11th while his teammate Pietro Fittipaldi gambled with fuel saving and placed 16th despite a strong performance in the final round of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at Sonoma Raceway.
Ferrucci, who was starting 20th in the 25-car field, had to fight with a throttle to fuel system error right from the start. The issue caused excessive fuel use throughout the race and it also meant that the rookie had to use the clutch in all the slow corners of the track because the engine wouldn’t idle.
Despite the problem with his #39 Cly-Del Manufacturing car, Ferrucci passed cars and made his way through the field. He gained a couple of positions at the start but made the most progress during his third stint when he moved up from 19th following his stop on Lap 46 to third before heading to pit lane on Lap 64. Upon exiting the pits for the final time in 12th, he picked up one final spot when he got around veteran Tony Kanaan for 11th with 12 laps remaining.
Fittipaldi wasn’t as fortunate aboard his #19 Paysafe car. After losing a couple of positions at the start, he made his way up to eighth with about 45 laps remaining. However, with the rookie having to pit earlier than others on Lap 58, he would have to save fuel to make it to the end of the 85-lap event and took the checkered flag in 16th place.
“I’m very pleased with the performance of these two young rookies,” said Team Owner Dale Coyne. “Fittipaldi comes here with a strong resume and showed he deserves to be in IndyCar. Ferrucci has been a pleasant surprise all year. In what should have been two top-10 weekends, these last two races, he has more than shown his skill and professionalism at this level.”
The Dale Coyne Racing team will have more on its plans for the 2019 season in the coming months.
What they have to say:
Santino Ferrucci – #39 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda
“That was probably the most difficult race of my career. I can’t thank my #39 Cly-Del crew enough for giving us what was an unbelievable race car. We drove 85 laps with a throttle to fuel system error that not only made us use excessive fuel, but I also had to figure out how to ‘re-drive’ the car using the clutch in the slow corners because the engine wouldn’t idle. The team also did an awesome job with the pit stops, I really wish we got that top 10 but this felt like a bit of a win for us today.”
Pietro Fittipaldi – #19 Paysafe Honda
“I’m disappointed with our result. Our #19 Paysafe car was fast, we were running in the top eight at one point, but we just pitted too early and we had to save fuel until the end of the race. We lost a lot of positions because of that. We had to go with our biggest fuel save number, so that was unfortunate, but I also gained more experience in fuel saving. We still finished, but I think we had a car to finish in the top 10 today if things had gone differently.”