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IndyCar Portland

Juri Vips relishes second chance with “awesome” IndyCar debut

Juri Vips says he enjoyed a “very clean race” after making his IndyCar Series debut at Portland International Raceway on Sunday.

Juri Vips, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

The Estonian enjoyed a solid outing with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, finishing exactly where he qualified: 18th.

He went start to finish without any interruptions and was the top finisher – and rookie – among the lapped cars.

“Awesome to get through the race distance,” Vips said. “Just wasn't used to how long the race is; the F2 races are much, much shorter.

“Being out of the car the whole year, it was definitely a test for me. I think it was actually a decent race. We avoided the messes at the start. The only real problem was the first stint and the first pit stop, but other than that, it was a very clean race.

“We need to see with the engineers what happened exactly, but we just struggled to get any rear tire tempt through the whole stint. Even at the end, it felt like the rears weren't in. We really struggled on the reds there.

“I think it was quite okay, kept it on the road. We completed the race. We're in the Leaders Circle [top-22 in points] now, so we did what we came here to do. It definitely wasn't the best weekend in terms of results, but now having the experience of this we can definitely build on a lot going into Laguna.”

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Juri Vips, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, pit stop

Juri Vips, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, pit stop

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

While there were some similarities to driving a Formula 2 car, where Vips, 23, drove from 2020-22, there was also a steep learning curve in the nuances of an Indy car that he was forced to adjust to.

“The steering effort is similar to F2, I would say, on these,” Vips said. “But there is overtake, which we don't have an F2.

“There are [track] bars that the good guys, they adjust them very well and they know exactly what they're doing. I'm just sort of reacting to situations instead of preempting them.

“Experience really matters in this series. There was a lot of new things. The pit stops are different. You know, you go to neutral, whereas in Europe since there's no refueling on pit stops, you just keep it in first.

“There's a lot of things that were new to me.”

Vip is in the frame for a full-time ride with the team next year, and when asked if competing in IndyCar is something he wants more of, he replied: “Yeah, definitely.”

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