Conquest Racing Takes Strong Finish with Rookie at Indy

26.05.2008: Conquest Racing Takes Strong Finish with Rookie at Indy

- Bernoldi sees checkered in 15th while Camara crashes out -

Emotions were divided at Conquest Racing when the checkered flag flew on the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 today. The #34 crew saw their race end early when Jaime Camara (#34 Bidaroo.com) hit the wall on lap 80, but the 36 side of the team was all smiles when driver Enrique Bernoldi (#36 Sangari) took the checkered flag on the lead lap in a very satisfying 15th place giving Conquest Racing their first Indy 500 finish.

Bernoldi and Camara both had a clean start from their respective 29th and 30th places on the grid with Camara picking up a couple of positions and Bernoldi losing one. Things were looking good for the Conquest team with both drivers running strong. But on lap 36 Bernoldi found himself in a precarious situation when a piece of Graham Rahal’s car (who hit the wall) went flying onto Bernoldi’s car, consequently bending the toe link upon impact. The Brazilian headed to the pits where his Conquest crew repaired the damage to the 36 Sangari machine but the rookie driver lost one lap in the process.

As for Camara, the Conquest rookie was having a strong race up until lap 80, running as high as 17th, when understeer got the best of him as he was exiting turn 1 and the Brazilian became a passenger as his car found the outside wall. Camara was uninjured in the crash.

Meanwhile, Bernoldi was able to get his lap back when a yellow flag came out when Tony Kanaan hit the wall on lap 106. From then on, Bernoldi kept on pace and continued to gain momentum as he picked off his rivals making his way up to 15th place by lap 178. The rookie maintained his position giving him his first oval finish of the season.

Next Up:

There’s no time to rest for the Conquest team as the team will head back to their shop tomorrow and prepare for next weekend’s race at the Milwaukee Mile.

CONQUEST QUOTE BOARD

15th - Enrique Bernoldi #36 Sangari Dallara/Honda/Firestone

"I’m very happy, it was a very good race for me. I got a bit scared at the beginning when a piece of Rahal’s car flew and hit my car, I thought I had damage beyond repair but luckily the team was able to fix it. I was pushing hard all the time. Indianapolis is a track where you can drive the car a little bit around the problem. I was working with the bars in the car.

I really have to thank my engineer Brandon (Fry) because he gave me a good car, I never had to adjust the car on the pit stops I could do everything within the car. The race was very long , very tiring but I am relieved that I finished my first oval race and it was the Indianapolis 500, so it was the best of the three I have done so far."

31st - Jaime Camara #34 Sangari Dallara/Honda/Firestone

"The race was going well. I was struggling a little bit in traffic but still learning, which was the goal for today. I was still on the lead lap which was very important. I just wanted to finish the race. I think we were going to be competitive but for some reason the front of the car was giving up every lap and there was more understeer and more understeer.

Then the last time on Turn 1 the car turned in well but then on mid-corner to exit there was huge understeer and I tried to correct it but it went straight to the wall. I couldn’t do anything. It hit pretty hard. It’s just a shame for us because our month has been really tough and I didn’t want it to end like this. I wanted to carry the momentum to the next race but this is racing, these things happen."

Eric Bachelart, Conquest Team Owner:

"It’s very encouraging to see the progress that Enrique has made since his first oval race. In this race alone he has gained so much maturity. He has done a really good job all month and especially in this race. We feel that we will build nicely with him from this race for the rest of the season. As for Jaime, it has been a tough month for him and he will have to come up with a strong showing at his next race to support his team and all the hard work they have put in for him this month.

I have confidence that he will regroup and come back strong. The team has done a great job all month but the work isn’t over, we now need to go back to the shop and rebuild Jaime’s car and get ready for Milwaukee ."

 

- Karina Redmond -

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/indycar-conquest-racing-team-indy-indianapolis-500-enrique-bernoldi-jaime-camara---38126.html

26.05.2008 / MaP

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