Ana Beatriz will miss out on this weekend’s IndyCar Series round at Barber Motorsports Park after being diagnosed with a broken scaphoid bone in her wrist. Her place at Dreyer & Reinbold will be taken by reigning American Le Mans Series champion and former ChampCar driver, Frenchman Simon Pagenaud.
Beatriz and team-mate Justin Wilson both suffered wrist injuries in the wheel-banging opening round a fortnight ago at St Petersburg, but while the Englishman is fit enough to make this race, Beatriz has been ruled out her injury was picked up on the fifth lap of the race. Despite racing in significant pain, she finished the race in 14th place.
“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,” Beatriz is quoted as saying.
“I was just focused and determined on finishing the race. I really wanted it knowing that I wasn’t 100 percent.
“It wasn’t until after the race that I realised that something was actually broken. I was pretty upset, but the team and the league have been great. I’m putting a lot of effort in being ready for Long Beach.”
The appointment of Pagenaud, 26, marks his IndyCar debut and his first return to open-wheel racing in the United States since 2007, when he was team-mate to Will Power at the Walker Racing Team Australia squad. Pagenaud currently competes in the ALMS with Highcroft Racing, as well as being on the factory Peugeot squad’s roster for the Le Mans 24 Hours later this year.
And while he is obviously thrilled to finally get an opportunity to compete in the IndyCar championship, the announcement has created some mixed feelings for the Frenchman.
“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,” Pagenaud is quoted as saying.
“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.”
Pagenaud has also been touted as a possible candidate for one of the five wildcard seats at the Las Vegas season finale.
[Images via LAT]