Tristan Vautier has been penalised after being found guilty of causing the crash that took both himself and Verizon IndyCar championship contender Graham Rahal out of last weekend’s 500-mile race at Pocono Raceway.
The Frenchman, driving the #19 Dale Coyne Racing entry, made a bold move to attempt to pass Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Rahal on lap 93 of the race, but despite attempting to pull out of the move, made contact with the American racer, eliminating both drivers.
Rahal was furious after the crash as he saw his championship hopes dwindle as championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya went on to take third in the race, a race marred by the tragic accident to befall Justin Wilson.
“Unfortunately, just driving against a guy there who isn’t using his head,” said Rahal after the incident. “He’s a part-timer, trying to prove himself again.
“He did mistakes like this his first year, lost his ride and it’s a hard thing. I think Tristan is a talented guy, but in a position like that, you just don’t do that.”
Vautier will miss the first two hours of practice at Sonoma Raceway this weekend as part of his punishment, and has also been docked three points and fined $10,000. He had already been on probation after hitting one of his pit crew during the event at Auto Club Speedway.
Dale Coyne Racing have announced that Vautier’s #19 entry will have a special livery for the season finale of the championship this weekend as a tribute to Wilson, who drove for the team in 2009 and again between 2012 and 2014, winning twice for the team, but sadly died this week as a result of a head injury suffered during the race at Pocono.