Pagenaud wins second straight IndyCar iRace

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Simon Pagenaud is getting the hang of this virtual racing.

The French driver won his second straight IndyCar iRacing Challenge race Saturday, capturing Twin Ring Motegi after two Team Penske teammates got tangled up with 10 laps to go.

Australian Will Power and Kiwi Scott McLaughlin were battling for the lead 10 laps from the finish when they made contact with the lapped car of Oliver Askew.

Pagenaud swept to the front and held off the charge of New Zealand veteran Scott Dixon, who settled for second ahead of Power, Marcus Ericsson and Robert Wickens.

"It was a crazy race," Pagenaud, clad in a firesuit for the online race, told the IndyCar on NBC broadcast.

"Very hectic with Will at one point and with Dixon at the end," he said. "I work hard all week to be competitive, and I think I'm catching up. I think I'm getting there."

Pagenaud won last week's instalment of the livestreaming series at a virtual version of Michigan International Speedway.

The series was started when IndyCar, along with virtually all of global sport, was shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.

Although IndyCar hasn't raced at Japan's Twin Ring Motegi in real life since 2011, the circuit was selected for the virtual series by fan vote.

"I'm having a lot of fun," Pagenaud said. "It's so stressful. You're still lacking a lot of feedback. I'm relearning a way to race."