Will Power has claimed his third win of the 2012 season in succession – and his third win on the streets of São Paulo – by winning the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300, the fourth round of the championship season.
Starting from pole position, the Australian kept his nose clean in an event-filled race punctuated by several safety car periods as his rivals came to grief on the tough street circuit.
But his victory wasn’t as assured as it looked, with each field compression bringing more pressure to maintain his advantage at the front of the field. With the final caution coming just a handful of laps before the finish of the 75-lap race, he had a tough fight on his hands to keep Ryan Hunter-Reay behind him – the pair crossed the line less than a second apart.
Takuma Sato came through to claim a well-earned points’ finish in his Rahal Letterman Lanigan entry, passing Dario Franchitti to claim the final podium spot after the last safety car period.
Sato’s drive was simply stellar. Having skipped Saturday qualifying while his Honda engine was being changed, the Japanese driver charged through from the back of the field – and overcame a pit-lane penalty for speeding – to finish on the podiu,.
Franchitti would also drop behind Penske driver Hélio Castroneves as he struggled to get his tyres up to temperature for the final stint, but fifth place for the defending champion was a fine piece of damage limitation in what has been a tough opening to his title defence.
His finish was all the more remarkable considering he was one of several drivers to come to grief at the circuit’s insanely tight first corner chicane complex. Franchitti was tipped into a spin over the kerbs during on of the race’s many restarrts, but fought his way back up to be a podium contender until the final few laps.
The top-ten was completed by James Hinchcliffe, JR Hildebrand, Charlie Kimball, EJ Viso and local favourite Rubens Barrichello.
You can watch the entire race here:
2012 Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 – Final Classification (75 laps):