Pagenaud to replace Beatriz in Alabama
Ipiranga/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced today that Brazilian, Ana Beatriz, will not participate in this weekend's Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama due to an injury sustained at the IZOD IndyCar Series opener in St. Petersburg, Florida two weeks ago. Filling in for her for Sunday's event will be Frenchman Simon Pagenaud.
|Simon Pagenaud back in an IndyCar|
Last Sunday, the 26 year-old incurred the injury on the fifth lap in Turn 5 when she made contact with the No. 38 car driven by Graham Rahal. The Brazilian managed to soldier through the race as she advanced six positions and brought the car home in 14th place. As a result of the incident, she fractured her scaphoid bone (wrist) and had to have surgery last Tuesday.
"I think that we had a great race in St. Pete, but on Lap 5 I broke my wrist. I could feel that my hand was sore and as the race went on it started to bother me more and I was in a lot of pain. I was just focused and determined on finishing the race. I really wanted it knowing that I wasn't 100%. Fortunately, I was able to finish the race and I got some good experience under my belt. It wasn't until after the race that I realized that something was actually broken. I was pretty upset, but the team and the league have been great. IndyCar medical got me in really quick to do the surgery and Dr. Fischer did an amazing job. I'm putting a lot of effort in being ready for Long Beach," commented Beatriz. " I'm disappointed that I won't be able to drive the Blazemaster/ Ipiranga car, but I will be in Barber to learn from Justin and Simon and hopefully we can get a great result."
Filling in for her this weekend will be Frenchman Simon Pagenaud. The reigning ALMS champion will make his IZOD IndyCar debut this Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park. "I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to drive Bia's No. 24 IndyCar this weekend. It's an awkward situation and not the best for a driver to race in circumstances like this, but I wish her the best and hope she has a very quick recovery and I will work hard for a good finish for DRR, Bia and Ipiranga/Blazemaster. I want to thank Dennis, Robbie and Larry for giving me the opportunity. I've been looking to get into IndyCar for several years and now is my chance, so I just have to say thank you to everyone for giving me the opportunity," stated Pagenaud.
The 26 year-old native of Poitiers, France made his way up the racing ladder starting out in go-karts in France from 1994-1999. He then went on to compete in various racing series in Europe from 2000-2004 where he won the Elf ACO French title, claimed 2nd place in the Formula Renault Elf Campus French Series, placed third in the Formula Renault French Championship as a rookie, earned 3rd place in the championship in the Formula Renault Masters Series, finished 2nd in the Formula Renault European Championship and competed in the World Series by Renault European-based championship. In 2006 Pagenaud came to America and competed in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship with Walker Racing and was crowned the Champ Car Atlantic Champion, earning six podiums, 10 top-ten finishes, one pole, one victory in Edmonton and Rookie of the Year honors. He took home the $2 million prize for winning the title, which helped him graduate to the Champ Car World Series with Team Australia/Walker Racing teaming up with Will Power. In 2007 Pagenaud finished 8th in points in what was a very consistent debut season in the Champ Car World Series, with three consecutive 4th place finishes.
After the demise of the CCWS, the Frenchman made the move to the American Le Mans Series in 2008 co-driving the De Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-01b LMP2 with former CART champion Gil de Ferran. He finished 14th in the drivers’ standings. In 2009, Pagenaud and de Ferran Motorsports took second place overall in the ALMS LMP1 class. The duo of Pagenaud and de Ferran earned 5 wins in 10 total races and 3 pole positions, turning the fastest lap of the ALMS weekend 6 times. That year, Simon drove in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans in LMP1 for Pescarolo Sport team in the Peugeot FAP 908. For 2010, Pagenaud moved over to the Patr¢n Highcroft racing team, replacing Scott Sharp to co-drive with Brabham in the ARX-01c in LMP1. Pagenaud and Brabham led the LMP1 class and won the 2010 Championship. He also earned a seat driving for the factory French Peugeot team.
"We wanted to put Bia in the car for this race, but it's more important that she heals properly and has a quick recovery. She's working hard and headed down the right track so that she can be ready for Long Beach. While she recovers we are happy that Simon can fill in for her this weekend," said Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Co-Owner Dennis Reinbold.
Feeling the same sentiment as Reinbold is Co-Owner Robbie Buhl. "We were really impressed with Bia's performance. The fact that she ran the entire race with a broken wrist really proved her potential and desire to showcase what she can do in an IndyCar. We are really looking forward to the rest of the season," stated Buhl.
While Beatriz will not be competing this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, she will be there to learn and gain more experience and see how the team works at another angle. She will be re-evaluated on Monday and is expected to be back in the car for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. For more updates on the team please visit www.dreyerreinboldracing.com.