Will Power wins 3rd straight in Sao Paulo
Power had a flawless race to win IndyCar’s Sao Paulo 300 for the third straight time Sunday, extending his dominance on the streets of South America’s biggest city.
The Australian was hardly challenged at the 2.5-mile, 11-turn Anhembi circuit, taking control of the race from the start to finish ahead of American Ryan Hunter Reay.
“I think I love Brazil, I love Sao Paulo,” Power said.
Japan’s Takuma Sato had a great run to finish third for his first podium after starting only 25th and overcoming a drive-thru penalty, while Brazilian Helio Castroneves was fourth after starting 18th. Three-time defending series champion Dario Franchitti recovered from an early spin to finish fifth.
It was Power’s third straight victory after four races this season, and Penske’s fourth straight. It is the first time the team wins four in a row to start the season, dating to the introduction of CART in 1979. Penske also won the first three races of the year in 2010.
Power became the first driver since Scott Dixon in 2007 to win three consecutive races. It was the Australian’s 18th career victory at IndyCar.
“Something is clicking there very well,” Hunter-Reay said. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence at all that they’ve won as many as they’ve won this season. Three out of four, that’s astonishing.”
Power led the most laps and clearly was faster than the rest of the field on Sunday, but had to fend off Hunter-Reay on a couple of late restarts, including one with five laps to go. Power crossed the line less than a second ahead of the American.
“I was giving absolutely everything I had to keep Ryan behind,” said Power, who started from the pole position. “A solid day when you look at it, very solid, no mistakes.”
Last year Power won from the pole in a race postponed for a day because of heavy rain. He won the inaugural Sao Paulo 300 in 2010, passing Hunter-Reay with three laps to go to win the rain-shortened race.
Power was coming off victories in Alabama and Long Beach and his triumph in Sao Paulo helped him increase his series points lead heading into the Indy 500 next month. He has a 45-point lead over Castroneves, the best Brazilian at the Anhembi circuit on Sunday.
Japan’s Sato surprised with his third-place finish after starting back in the grid because of an engine change. He also overcame a drive-thru penalty on lap 12, using a three-stop strategy and being aggressive on restarts to move to the front.
Weather was a concern as it rained hard during the morning practice session and it was expected to rain all day on Sunday, but the race started and finished on a mostly dry track. There was a light drizzle during the race, but not enough to get the track wet.