|BALTIMORE, Sept. 2, 2012 – On a demanding street circuit like the 2.04-mile course in downtown Baltimore, a driver needs to be able to use every resource available to challenge the track and his competitors.After recovering from an incident on the first lap of the Grand Prix of Baltimore, rookie Juan Pablo Garcia was extracting everything out of his No. 76 Freightliner/Jeffrey Mark Motorsport car to catch back up to the field. His charge back, though, was finally slowed when the rookie lost second gear in his car.
From there, it became a quest to finish Sunday’s 35-lap Firestone Indy Lights race.
“I ran out of room on the first lap,” Garcia said. “I had several cars around me fighting for space and went straight into the run off.”
Garcia rejoined the field in tenth position, and began chasing down his competitors.
“I was pushing really hard and catching the cars in front of me,” he said. “Each lap was feeling better and better in the car.”
Positive momentum for Garcia was halted when the No. 76 lost second gear.
“Driving the car on this track without second gear was hard because most of the corners are driven in second gear,” he said. “I couldn’t brake as hard and I was locking them (the tires) up. My exits out of the corners were slow as a result too.”
Garcia finished the day in ninth position.
“After all of my effort to work back up through the field it was disappointing to lose second gear,” Garcia said. “It wasn’t the result I wanted and we were stronger than that today.”
Tristan Vautier, driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, claimed his fourth victory of the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights season at the Grand Prix of Baltimore. Vautier led every lap of the race and averaged a speed of 85.476 mph.
The podium was rounded out with Gustavo Yacaman of Team Moore Racing in second and Esteban Guerrieri of Sam Schmidt Motorsports in third.
Vautier and Guerrieri will face off for the final round of the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights Championship at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sept. 15. Vautier currently leads Guerrieri, 429-418.
Juan Pablo Garcia is ninth in the championship standings with 240 points.