Kiwi IndyCar driver Scott Dixon was cursing his bad luck as a full course caution and a late pit stop combined to relegate him from first to 17th in the Sao Paulo Indy 300 in Brazil.
Dixon started the fourth event of the season from third on the grid this morning (NZT), behind series leader Will Power on pole and Target Chip Ganassi teammate Dario Franchitti, but after four lead changes the New Zealander had finally worked his way up to lead late in the street race.
Dixon knew he had to pit once more before race end for a fuel top-up and he had been trying to build up enough of a lead to take the short stop and not lose too much ground, giving him a chance for a high finish.
But his luck ran out on the 63rd of 75 laps.
Josef Newgarden hit the wall on the 10th turn and Ed Carpenter also spun out, resulting in a full course caution and the sight of the safety car - just what the Kiwi didn't want.
That squeezed the field right up for the next three laps and Dixon was forced to pit during that time, dropping from first to 13th. When full racing resumed he dropped another four spots as Power sped to victory.
The Australian nudged out American Ryan Hunter-Reay by less than a second with Japan's Takuma Sato third, the former Formula One driver claiming his highest IndyCar finish.
Helio Castroneves was fourth, protecting his second place in the overall standings, while Franchitti was fifth.
The upshot is Power now has 180 championship points and a 45-point lead over Castroneves, with James Hincliffe moving up to third, on 123 points. Dixon drops from fourth to sixth, with 109 points.
The next event is the Indianapolis 500 on May 28 (NZT).
- © Fairfax NZ News