Motor racing: Blundell finds a niche

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Mark Blundell has set his sights on further success in North America after gaining one of the best victories of his chequered race career.

Blundell, who never managed a win in 61 Formula One races, claimed his second victory in three outings in the PPG Cart World Series with a superb performance at the Molson Indy Toronto in Canada on Sunday night. Driving a Reynard Mercedes-Benz, he held off the challenge of the Italian Alessandro Zanardi.

The 31-year-old, now based in Paradise Valley, Arizona, drove a textbook race to lead for all but two of the 95 laps, setting the fastest lap of the race along the way.

"This is one of the greatest moments of my career," Blundell, the former McLaren driver, said after the victory for the Motorola PacWest Mercedes team. "We had a car that was simply the fastest one out there.

"We led for just a little of the last win in Portland, but we got this one fair and square. The whole PacWest team earned this one.

"The guys gave me great pit stops and other than a couple of backmarkers who didn't want to get out of the way, it was a perfect day.

"I'm just taking it all in my stride. I've always felt I have the ability to win races, so it was only a matter of time for the team to come together and give me the car and package that we needed to win.

"The last few races have shown that we have the competitiveness as a team to win. So all I want to do is keep winning. I'm not going to just settle on one and say, `That's it for the year'. I want to go on and try and win more."

Blundell, who had started from second place on the grid, took over the lead on the very first lap when the Scot Dario Franchitti collided with the Ford of the American Bobby Rahal.

"I saw in my right-hand corner that Bobby was coming down the inside very quickly," Blundell, whose debut season last year was marred by a 200mph crash, said. "The next thing I saw was Dario sideways.

"I had to make a decision and I tried to go left. Dario's car was moving outward towards the wall and I was a little bit scared I was going to catch it with the rear of my car as I tried to go through the gap. Luckily I got through, and the rest is his- tory."

Blundell, the first Briton to win an IndyCar race since Nigel Mansell in 1993 with his victory in Oregon last month, goes for another success in the next round, the US 500, at the Michigan Speedway in Brooklyn on Sunday.