Panasonic Toyota Racing today completed its first US Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team pit crew used bi-directional telemetry for the first time on both TF102s of Mika Salo and Allan McNish enabling both drivers to complete another two-car finish for the team. Salo finished the demanding 73-lap race in 14th place, McNish in 15th.
Mika Salo - Car No. 24
Position: 14th, 71/73 laps completed
"I was having a very good race to start with and the car felt fine, but after the first pit stop I had a big misfire for many laps and it wouldn't go away. The guys back in the box did a great job to clear that up, but I also had hydraulic pressure problems for most of the race and that ruined any chance of making up places. It's been a good learning weekend, so it is disappointing not finishing higher up."
Allan McNish - Car No. 25
Position: 15th, 71/73 laps completed
"That was an extremely tough and physical race. From the very start we experienced big differences in the car's balance from turning left to turning right. It got progressively worse as the race went on and the car became difficult to drive. The steering was locked when turning right and it was an achievement in itself to get the car home, but still we should have done better than 15th. Our next stop will be Japan for the last race of the season and Toyota's home race. I plan to end it on a high."
Ove Andersson - President
"It has been a difficult weekend, we had several problems that we have not had before. On the other hand it was the first time that we have used the bi-directional telemetry in a positive way. We have to look at this race as a learning experience, and we have certainly learned a lot. This circuit is quite demanding, particularly on the engine, so a two-car finish is very good. Suzuka will be a busy race for us, but I hope we can give our Japanese fans a good result."
Weather: Dry, hot and sunny all day.
T-Car: TF102/06 set up for Allan McNish.
Review: On the team's first trip to Indianapolis, both drivers worked on learning the track, race set-up and tyre comparisons. Mika was 12th on Friday completing 30 laps with a best time of 1m13.523s. Allan managed 48 laps in a best lap of 1m14.232s. Qualifying was a disappointing session with Allan 16th and Mika 19th. Sunday's warm-up was generally trouble-free. Mika was 6th fastest, but Allan suffered handling problems and was back in 18th.
Preview: Stéphane Sarrazin and Ryan Briscoe will take part in a three-day test session from Tuesday 1 October to Thursday 3 October in Barcelona in preparation for the last round of the season in Japan in 2 weeks' time.
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