Start, Indianapolis 500, 2016

Shock as rookie wins 100th Indianapolis 500

Weekend racing wrap

Posted on

| Written by

The 100th running of the famous Indianapolis 500 saw a former Formula One driver becoming a surprise first rookie winner since 2001.

Elsewhere both Super Formula and the Nurburgring 24 Hours were affected by abnormal weather conditions while the World Touring Car Championship encountered tyre dramas at the Nordschleife.


Round 6 of 16: Indianapolis 500

Alexander Rossi, Andretti/Herta, Indianapolis 500, 2016
Rossi won the Indy 500 at his first attempt
Manor reserve driver Alexander Rossi took victory on his first attempt at the Indianapolis 500 with a brilliantly calculated fuel-saving drive. In just his first season of Indycar Rossi has had a tough start to the year but has showed signs of improvement, and eleventh in qualifying was another step forward. He never looked like a contender though until he was left out during a late caution to clear the wrecked cars of Mikhail Aleshin and Conor Daly, and despite falling out of sync with everyone else and pitting 36 laps from the end for fuel, he nursed his car to the finish.

Carlos Munoz finished an equally surprising second to complete a one-two for Andretti while Josef Newgarden was disappointed with third and likewise pole sitter James Hinchcliffe, who could only manage seventh. Juan Pablo Montoya’s hopes of defending the win he took last year vanished early on as he caused the first caution, while Sage Karam also crashed.

Meanwhile two cars were eliminated from the scrap for the win after a tangle in the pits. Townsend Bell was released into the path of Helio Castroneves and spun into Ryan Hunter-Reay – who still led the most laps – causing both of them to require new front wings and lose a lap, while Castroneves escaped without damage. Championship leader Simon Pagenaud was never quite in contention, and failed to recover after he was dropped to the back of the pack for pit-lane indiscretion.

World Touring Car Championship

Round 5 (Races 9-10 of 24): Germany

Jose Maria Lopez won both races on the famous Nordschleife circuit, but he didn’t have things all his own way. Lopez was running third in the opening race until late on the final lap when long-time race leader Tiago Monteiro suffered a tyre failure on his Honda – far from their first of the weekend – and crashed, taking second placed Yvan Muller out with him. Tom Chilton ran Lopez close to the line while Norbert Michelisz completed the podium.

Lopez led more from the front in the main race, but had to fight his way back past Michelisz after the Honda’s great start from second. Tom Chilton capped a great weekend with a second podium, though this was largely due to the absence of Monteiro and Muller due to the opening race crash.

Elsewhere Tom Coronel took an impressive third place in qualifying, but was duly slapped with a €5,000 fine for recording on his phone during his in-lap. He crashed out of the opening race and failed to take his third place on the second race grid as a result.

World Rallycross Championship

Round 4 of 12: Great Britain

Mattias Ekstrom extended his winning streak to three consecutive rounds at Lydden Hill, but nearly went out in the qualifying round. A puncture in the final heat meant he could only set the 18th quickest time, but he made it through as fourth fastest overall. Ekstrom took the joker lap on his first tour to great effect in the final, and long-time leader Solberg could only watch as he rejoined behind Ekstrom after his joker and the Audi driver took the chequered flag.


Round 13 of 36: Charlotte Motor Speedway

Martin Truex Jnr ended a run of bad luck and won at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Truex Jnr led 392 of the 400 laps and 588 of the 600 miles – both records – to claim his first win since Pocono last year. Kevin Harvick finished second while Jimmie Johnson led the second highest number of laps – five – on his way to third place.

Guest Series: Nurburgring 24 Hours

Round 1 of 1: Nordschleife

A race which began in dire conditions was decided almost a day later when the lead changed hands at the beginning of the final lap of the daunting Nordschleife.

Mercedes locked out the top four positions of the Nurburgring 24 Hours with a commanding performance throughout, with the Black Falcon AMG car overtaking the HTP Motorsport entry on the 134th and final lap of the race when Maro Engel squeezed past Christain Hohenadel on the grand prix circuit.

The first four hours of the race were hit by severe weather including hail causing the race to be stopped five laps in, but with 20 hours left on the timer, the race was restarted in very foggy conditions. The Schubert BMW led until the late evening when it suffered a catastrophic turbo failure. Mercedes’ number 88 car took the lead but suffered slight damage when it hit an Audi in traffic. The night phase of the race was dominated by Mercedes and into the morning there was a three way battle for the lead between the 88, 18 and 29 cars.

Late in the final hour it became clear that fuel would be marginal for the leading 29 car. A late splash-and-dash brought the top two within 0.7 seconds as the cars crossed the line for the final time with 40 seconds on the clock.

Contact was made as Engel dived inside Hohenthal at the Michelin-Kurve and made the move stick, then pulled away through the traffic for the remainder of the 25-kilometre loop to win by just over five seconds. Unsurprisingly HTP lodged an appeal but, just as unsurprisingly, the ADAC stewards quickly rejected it, meaning the finish stood as the closest in the history of the event.

Super Formula

Round 2 of 8: Okayama

Video not available yet.

Japanese Super Formula, TI Aida, Okayama, 2016
Dire conditions greeted the Super Formula field
Hiroaki Ishiura won a red-flagged race at Okayama in treacherous weather conditions. The race was started behind the safety car, and drivers were continually caught out from the moment the safety car returned to the pits until the race was stopped on lap eight.

Ishiura lead from the front and was under pressure from Joao Paulo de Oliveira until lap five when the Brazilian’s car failed. Koudai Tsukakoshi took second, while GP2 graduate Takuya Izawa took third. Andre Lotterer only managed 8th and Stoffel Vandoorne finished 12th after pitting early on, while the other former F1 drivers also suffered, with Narain Karthikeyan, Kazuki Nakajima and Kamui Kobayashi finishing 16th, 17th and 18th respectively. With less than 75% of race distance completed, only half points were awarded.

Also last weekend

Formula One’s blue riband event in Monaco saw Lewis Hamilton win a rain-affected race.

As usual the GP2 Series supported Formula One, though the race was a rather more sedate affair than in recent years. Artem Markelov gained some 20 seconds on Norman Nato during a Virtual Safety Car period which proved enough to held him maintain the lead when he pitted two laps from the end and claim a surprise maiden victory from 15th on the grid.

Elsewhere Pierre Gasly was excluded from qualifying for missing the weigh bridge, Sergey Sirotkin threw away another strong result from pole position after hitting the wall on the exit of the swimming pool and Jordan King hit the wall while running second. Nobuharu Matsushita made best use of the reverse grid in race two to take his second ever victory ahead of Marvin Kirchofer and Raffaele Marciello.

In the Pirelli World Challenge, there was a major incident involving the Aston Martin of Jorge de la Torre and Bentley of Andrew Palmer. Both remain in hospital with de la Torre suffering multiple fractures and bruising while Palmer is being treated by specialists due to a head injury. Alvaro Parente won for McLaren ahead of Pat Long.

Over to you

What racing action did you watch last weekend? Let us know in the comments.

The IndyCar field have little time to recover as they’ll be pulling double duty in Detroit this weekend with races on Saturday and Sunday. The DTM heads to the Lausitzring and the BTCC will be racing at Oulton Park.

Thanks to Robert Mathershaw (@Mathers) for contributing to this article.

Weekend Racing Wrap

Browse all Weekend Racing Wraps

Posted on Categories Weekend racing wrapTags

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 32 comments on “Shock as rookie wins 100th Indianapolis 500”

    1. David Pearce
      31st May 2016, 13:24

      British Hillclimb championships at Gurston Down in Wiltshire. Epic day with unprecedented access to paddock, cars and drivers of you wanted a chat.

    2. Just unbelieeeeeeeevable conditions at the NUrburgring. That hail storm was absolutely terryfing. As if the Nordschleife needed another challenge!

    3. ColdFly F1 (@)
      31st May 2016, 13:34

      I don’t mind a Halo, Half-canopy, or complex front wings any more. I just hope that F1 cars will never become as unimpressive as the current Indycar cars!

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        31st May 2016, 13:39

        And whilst I’m at it.
        1) ‘fuel-saving”, in which other racing series have I heard that before?
        2) milk for the winner ;-)

        1. There’s fuel saving, and then there’s fuel saving– Rossi drove 36 laps with 34 laps of gas in the tank. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Townsend Bell, since their race was over and done, were both used as drafts to help Rossi, and apparently his car ran out of juice while leaving turn 4– he coasted across the line and had to be towed back to Victory Lane.

          1. petebaldwin (@)
            31st May 2016, 14:40

            Fuel saving when it’s part of a strategy is ok. You short fill at a pit stop to save a few seconds or stay out for a bit longer and save fuel to avoid having to pit – it creates variation in strategy.

            Fuel saving (without refilling) because the cars are quicker with less weight in the tank is a bit different because they all do the same. We don’t see any variation – they all have to go slowly for some of the race for no apparent benefit. If it was made mandatory to start the race with the maximum fuel that can be used during the GP, they wouldn’t have to save fuel.

          2. I think Rossi learnt the fuel-saving from F1 and used his experience to great effect!

        2. The milk thing is disgusting. But it just caps off the entirely corny, campy overwrought presentation of the race. I can’t bear to watch anything before 15 minutes before the roll-off. It’s Americana turned up to 11. It’s possibly worse than the celebrity-worship and materialism of the Monaco GP.

          1. I watch a lot of indycar and the 500 every year and I totally agree with your comment. Also like half the race is adverts (on Aussie Pay TV anyway) so I can’t watch it without recording and fast forwarding the rubbish. Heart pumping finish again, like last year.

            1. Plus another one from me. BT sport’s coverage has improved immensely over the last few races though by going to a commentary team based in Britain every time the yanks take an ad break (take a bow Mr Collantine!).
              Since the late nineties (when channel 5 & eurosport showed the races) I’ve often found myself enduring F1 in the afternoon & really enjoying their US counterparts in the evening. Shame the cars look so rubbish…

            2. Thanks very much! I’m back on Sunday for the second Detroit race, Tom Gaymor is handling race one on Saturday I understand. The plan for both is to stay ad-free throughout the green flag running. The following race in Texas is on around 2am in the morning and I expect for that we will stick with the US feed and not add our own coverage.

        3. Indycar offers great racing – I am not a huge fan of refuelling but it allows diverse strategies and puts cars out of their natural position, which improves the racing and allows an occasional underdog result. And I have rarely seen people waiting for the pit stops to overtake, there is normally plenty of on track action.
          I definitely think the F1 field is higher quality but purely from a racing point of view I find myself over a weekend looking forward to the evening Indycar race more than Sunday lunchtime F1

          1. I also think that refuelling in a race that is 500 miles, but with laps of only a minute, ins’t the big decider: there is so much happening in timing (cautions) and where you end up in the field, that a fuel strategy is about putting you in a good position for the next bit of the race (as you need more than one stop anyway), but you need to keep alert, fast, sometimes aggressive, sometimes patient too, for the rest.

      2. @coldfly Regardless of the way they look, the racing in Indycar since the introduction of the DW12 has been great. I’d argue its been some of the best, most enjoyable racing of any open wheel series the past few years.

    4. I really couldn’t be happier for Alexander Rossi, he put in a stellar drive. That was a properly gutsy strategy call and he executed it perfectly. The race came to him beautifully, that was a great win and will do wonders for his F1 chances.

      And if it doesn’t, who cares? He is an Indy 500 winner and no one can take that away from him.

      1. not just any indy 500, the 100th indy! As an American! He is already a legend now in the US no matter what. A great finish to the weekend.

      2. @geemac It really was amazing: 19 drivers pitted on lap 164 and he was the only one to make it to the end. Castroneves and Pagenaud came in afterwards and still couldn’t get to the end without a stop. Really canny stuff from Rossi and the Andretti team, particularly in how they used Hunter-Reay to give him a tow. Rossi also said he’d found a way to hit his fuel mileage without losing too much speed by changing his line in turn two. He began the last lap with half a lap’s lead and went around 40mph slower than those catching him!

        1. I knew a lot of people pitted about the same time as him but I didn’t realise it was as many as 19, even more impressive and it goes to show how well he drove. It was no fluke. The last lap was nerve wracking, I was just waiting for his car to grind to a halt. The team radio wasn’t helping either!

        2. That is important information. Watching the broadcast was baffling to be honest. Apart from Munoz, Kanaan, I had no idea who was actually I contention at the end, not until I saw Rossi crawling down the backstretch. The were not even giving the delta to Munoz. I had no idea the margin was a few seconds until later. I suppose the broadcast was focusing on the fact that the race typically has cautions in the last 10 laps and often ends under yellow, so getting to the front was the only real strategy, and so when the leaders stopped, they were lost. I feel like I “missed” one of the most exciting finishes in a long time even though I was staring at the screen. One plus though, thank god for a conspicuous lack of WAG-cams in the final laps this time.

          1. I was watching the live timing as 16 seconds lead became 12 seconds became 8 seconds through each timing sector of that lap. So tense. Loved it!

            1. Live timing really made this finish tense, I agree. From watching it earlier in the stint I figured that Dixon, Rossi, and Servia were fuel saving and trying to make it to the end. Most other front runners were definitely going for the splash-and-dash strategy (or a caution) at about 20 laps to go. If Dixon was indeed trying to save fuel to get to the end (he could have just been slow), then it is very impressive that Rossi managed to out fuel save him. Dixon is known in IndyCar as being very smooth and therefore good with conserving tires and fuel.

          2. @dmw

            The were not even giving the delta to Munoz.

            At the start of the final lap you could hear Rossi’s engineer telling him Munoz was half a lap behind.

    5. I must admit that seeing Herta’s car winning the race in similar style to how they did it with Dan in 2011, it got me a little misty eyed… and to do it with Rossi as well, I personally couldn’t have asked for a better result. This is the one time I hope we don’t see the winner defend his title — I’d rather see Alex at Monaco next year, he deserves it.

    6. Who else did they expect to win when there was a fuel saving competition ? of course the formula one driver !

      Just joking of course, a well earned win by Rossi.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        31st May 2016, 16:35

        +1 :-)

    7. Really enjoyed the 500. Gteat climax too. Three other things I noticed during the race:

      1. That pit lane is too narrow! Watching 25+ cars pit at once is even scarier than seeing them 3 wide through turn 1.

      2. While looking at live timing during a full course yellow, I saw Pagenaud clock a 121mph lap! Whilst that’s only half the speed of a pole lap (that’s still faster than I’ve ever driven in a straight line!), considering that they’re under yellow and Indy Car marshals (and track vehicles) are not shy of getting close to passing cars, it takes your breath away.

      3. If that had been F1, Rossi would have lost the win for being unable to provide a fuel sample and all the excitement and drama would have been down the toilet instead of becoming a part of folklore.

      1. They only have to provide the fuel sample in qualifying to my knowledge so it wouldn’t have made a difference. I could be wrong but I think it was only in qualy that it was necessary.

    8. This is definitely Rossi’s big ticket to Formula 1. It really raised his stock and chances to land with another team for sure. Of course Manor still has a deal as their reserve. Haas are on their baby steps.

      But John Booth – who gave Alex the chance to drive the Manor in 2015 – could persuade Mateschitz and Tost to bring him aboard. And with the dilemma with Kvyat and Verstappen, Rossi could become the wild-card. Alex’s management team could be prepared to receive more sponsorship. The Angie’s Indy GP became Rossi’s turning point right before the 500 and he has put the entire F1 paddock on notice. Especially Haryanto.

      It will be interesting if Toro Rosso could snag him from underneath.

      The Indy Car season ends the same day the Singapore GP is contested. He could return when they arrive to Malaysia.

      To end it on a fun note:

      Max’s trophy from Spain is good.

      But Alex’s will be better because he will have is face engraved, a mini Borg-Warner thophy and sport the winner’s ring.

      1. Sadly I don’t think it will be of any value to him. Hulkenberg won LeMans, a race of equal prestige and requiring more relevant skills, and top teams were not suddenly beating down his door. As for Haryanto, I heard in the broadcast that is money is running out, and that Rossi may be back in the car if the team can’t find another pay-driver in the meantime. That may be his best chance.

    9. Lol. I saw the race live, just amazing. Them F1 drivers are pretty good.

      So many talented racers never make it. And he was in F1 last year… Raced well without radio.

      Offcorse he didnt do a Bianchi and got points. He would be on thr grid if it wasn’t for 10 Millionz. Haryanto supporters.

      But good news is, now he just has to win Monaco GP and Le Mans for motosport trinity. Best bet would be to get RBR seat ASAP. Maybe replace Kvyat in STR.

    10. What a anticlimax with the most ridiculous looking indycars ever. Worse than e-racing. And spec-cars too.

    11. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      1st June 2016, 22:14

      Re WTCC:
      Yup, it really happened. Driver was fined for using his smartphone in the car on a live race track during a session. And then caused outrage on Twitter for attempting to have it paid for via crowdfunding.
      I could not believe that was happening. What a moron. Mind you, he is in a car insurance ad on Dutch tv too.

    Comments are closed.