Castroneves in full flight
Brazilian driver takes victory around airport venue in Edmonton
Last Updated: 23/07/12 9:21am
Helio Castroneves: Held off Takuma Sato to win at Edmonton
Helio Castroneves held off a hard-charging Takuma Sato to claim victory in the IndyCar Series race at Edmonton City Centre Airport.
The Penske Racing driver took the lead after pitting slightly earlier than his rivals and then held on to the chequered flag and deny Sato a maiden victory in the series.
Castroneves' Penske team-mate Will Power stormed through the field from 17th on the grid to take third, while Graham Rahal and Alex Tagliani completed the top five.
The result moves Castroneves up to second in the championship standings, 23 points behind Ryan Hunter-Reay, who could only manage seventh place after a grid penalty.
Castroneves admitted that he was slightly concerned when his engineer called him in a little early for his final stop of the caution-free race.
"I was a little concerned to be honest. In the end, what a great strategy. I did it, if you believe it, it was so awesome," he said.
Tagliani had been leading before the final round of stops but as he emerged from the pit-lane for the last time, Castroneves came past him to take the lead.
Former Formula 1 driver Sato then also passed Tagliani and closed in on Castroneves but the Brazilian, who finished second in three of the last four years at Edmonton, held on over the final 15 laps.
Power had been penalised 10 places on the grid for an engine change but put in arguably the best drive of the day to claim his best result since April, although Hunter-Reay was left furious after feeling that the Australian cut him off on pit exit.
"Well, I thought in the driver meeting if you are not cutting someone off, you can take the apex, and I thought I was in front of him because I didn't see him," Power said.
"But if I was in his position, I guess I would scream for a penalty, too, because that's more points. If that was the case, my mistake."