De Silvestro Impresses In Debut
March 17, 2010 | 10:33 A.M. EST
The Swiss driver qualified 11th in her No. 78 Team Stargate Worlds/HVM car and narrowly missed the five-car wreck at the start. But her car suffered a flat right-rear tire after running over debris during the full-course caution.
She re-entered in 13th, and, by Lap 18, had been relegated to the 17th spot, as she had a full load of fuel to contend with. Her fortune would change when another yellow flag came out, allowing De Silvestro to gain the lead with the call to stay out.
She was the first to lead in a debut race since Graham Rahal at St. Petersburg in 2008. De Silvestro soon found herself fighting with Ryan Hunter-Reay and Dario Franchitti for the lead.
Their battle came to an end when the skies over Sao Paulo opened up, forcing all drivers back to their pits for rain tires. De Silvestro stayed out, but unfortunately the pits would close for another full-course caution, which forced De Silvestor to stay out on the race track for six laps.
After the half-hour red flag period, De Silvestro came back out but was once again bitten by bad luck. She began to experience rear suspension problems causing her to take a trip back to the pits for lengthy repairs. After losing three laps, she returned to finish in 16th place.
"Despite the rear braking problems and the different things that happened during the race, it was a real good experience," said De Silvestro. "I think we can be pretty competitive during the year. Now we just have to continue to work real hard and I'm sure we'll go in the right direction."
Team principal Keith Wiggins was satisfied, while sharing his driver's disappointment with the result.
"We started off pretty good, obviously, and we got into a pretty good position and looked very strong," he said, "but it went a bit against us when the rain came and the pits closed. It went downhill from there. It's a bit of a disappointing finish considering she was doing such a fantastic job."