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August 7th, 2011
Tension between IndyCar Series championship rivals Dario Franchitti and Will Power continued to simmer in Mid-Ohio after the pair made contact again on the opening lap of the race.
Relations between the two had already turned sour in July after Power suggested that Franchitti should have received a penalty for tipping him in to a spin at Toronto – the Scot going on to win the race.
Franchitti then accused Power of trying to do the same thing on the first lap of the race at Mid-Ohio on Sunday as the pair fought over third position.
While neither car lost ground in the incident, in-car footage from Power’s Penske clearly showed the Australian’s front right wheel touch the left rear of Franchitti’s Ganassi machine as he went up the inside of Turn 5.
Afterwards Franchitti, who extended his championship lead to 62 points over Power with a second place finish, told Versus: “Good points day for us, despite Will’s best efforts at the start there to spin me around, but we managed to get out of that…
“He hit me twice on the first lap – pretty hard actually – going into Turn 5. He didn’t get me all the way around but he had a good try at it.”
Power, who finished a lowly 14th after he was caught out by a late full caution, admitted in a separate interview that he had hit Franchitti’s car, but put it down to a racing incident as he tried to pass the reigning champion.
Power said: “I was just trying to get past him at the start, he went around the outside and I think I hit his back wheel… sort of similar to Toronto.”
Asked if that was the approach he intended to take with Franchitti from now on, Power replied: “Nah, I’m just racing, that’s all.”
In the post-race press conference Franchitti was more conciliatory.
“I haven’t seen it, but I think he got into me twice,” said the Scot. “He didn’t spin us, that’s just what happens in those positions when you’re so close together. No big deal.
“I think Will was unlucky today, he didn’t do much wrong. I’ve done a lot of these races, and probably still lost more from bad luck than I have won from good. I will take the good luck whilst it comes though.”