Engine woes threaten to derail Scott Dixon

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 08:44 10/07/2012
Scott Dixon
Reuters
LOSING COUNT: Scott Dixon has gone through five engines during his Indycar campaign this season.

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Scott Dixon's latest engine troubles could be the most costly yet for his IndyCar title hopes.

The New Zealander was forced to withdraw early from yesterday's Toronto street race, citing engine trouble.

He's still unclear exactly what was the cause - ''I think it was the engine, it was definitely something mechanical'' - but if he does require a new engine ahead of the Edmonton stop on July 23 (NZT), it will cost him 10 spots on the starting grid.

The reason? Dixon has run out of IndyCar-approved engines - he was on his fifth and final engine before Toronto and if he needs a sixth he'll cop the grid penalty, which is part of new rules IndyCar put in place this season at the request of the engine manufacturers.

It allows them to contain costs and ensure parity so the manufacturers aren't put into a position to design engines specific for certain races. Honda was the sole engine provider from 2006-11, and has since been joined by Chevy and Lotus.

There are five races remaining and Dixon, who dropped a spot to fourth in the overall standings after yesterday's race, 54 points behind leader Ryan Hunter-Reay, is the most notable driver on his last legs.

''We're not very happy of course, but Team Target will do a lot between now and Edmonton,'' he said.

Hunter-Reay has two engines up his sleeve while second-placed Will Power has one, and it appears all Dixon can do is hope they also run into trouble.

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