26 May 2013
It was disappointment for Pippa Mann on Sunday, after the British racing driver retired from the 97th Indianapolis 500 following a brush with the wall.
Having started from 30th position, on the outside of row 10, Mann and the Dale Coyne Racing team were looking for an incident-free 200 laps, hoping to move up through the field and complete the full 500-mile race distance. However, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had a different plan for the Cyclops Gear car – and unfortunately it was a plan that would see Mann climb back out of the car just 46 laps into the race, despite an extremely strong performance from the relative rookie.
The 33-car field took the green just shortly after 12:15 pm at the Brickyard, surrounded by overcast skies and in unseasonably cold temperatures. Mann held the outside line and by the end of lap one was still in 30th position. Three more green laps went by before the No.4 National Guard car of JR Hildebrand hit the wall coming out of turn two, providing the first caution flag of the day.
Mann and the No.63 Cyclops Gear car were among those to pit under yellows, re-joining the race in 31st place. When the track went back to green, Mann began working her way up through the pack and as the rest of the field pitted under racing conditions, the Briton was classified in second position behind fellow countryman James Jakes. Following a second caution period for the No.6 car of Sebastian Saavedra, the Dale Coyne Racing crew called Mann in for her second stop of the day, seeing the Cyclops Gear car exit pit lane in 23rd place.
Green flag racing resumed on lap 43, but just three laps later, Mann brushed the wall coming out of turn four, resulting in a broken right toe link on the No.63 Cyclops Gear car.
Officially classified in 30th place, Mann spoke about her disappointment: “What happened out there was a really big shame. The Cyclops Gear was really fast and we were moving up through the field fairly nicely. Under the yellow flag period, a lot of cars pitted and then stood on the gas after the blend line on pit lane exit, and blended in front of me when they shouldn’t have been there. I was told to re-take my position which I tried to do, and then there was some very aggressive re-passing going on under yellows, with cars that were meant to be lined-up behind me. Graham Rahal was one of them and I’ve since heard that he’s been fined by Race Control, but regardless, he was in front of me on the re-start. I caught him a couple of laps later as he was moving around in front of me, and I made a rookie mistake in his dirty air and hit the wall. I’m pretty frustrated right now – for sure with myself, but also with Race Control and Graham too.
“There was also an incident earlier in the race, and I know Sebastian (Saavedra) is really furious at me right now. It’s so unfortunate – I was just trying to avoid Buddy Lazier in front of me. I don’t know why but he (Lazier) was off the pace in between turns three and four, and to avoid hitting him I had to stand on the brakes. I very nearly lost my car because of that, and then I looked in my mirrors and saw Sebastian spinning. I feel incredibly bad for him and his crew, and for the work they will subsequently have to do.”
Looking to the positives, Mann said: “The No.63 Cyclops Gear car felt great today and I was really happy out there. This was the first time I’d really run in traffic since we got here this month and I was just trying to work things out and learn my timing. I’m really grateful to Cyclops Gear and the Dale Coyne Racing team who gave me such a great car. We were running fast laps and moving up the order, so it’s obviously tough that our race ended so soon, however sometimes these things happen. It’s a real pity that my Indy 500 finished this way, but overall it's been a positive month for us. I'm so grateful to have had this opportunity to get back in an Indycar and I'm hopeful about the future!"