August 17, 2012
Villeneuve: Danica favoured because she's female
By QMI Agency
MONTREAL - Canadian race-car driver Jacques Villeneuve has torn a strip off Danica Patrick as he prepares to take to the track that bears his father's name for the NAPA 200 race Saturday in Montreal.
Villeneuve, who knocked Patrick out of the Road America race on June 23 and later said he "didn't care," told QMI this week the sport's golden girl gets favourable treatment because she's a woman.
Villeneuve said he was lambasted by other drivers, including Patrick, after bumping her out at Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin.
The Quebec-born racer had been knocked off the track in the same race by Michael McDowell and nobody so much as raised an eyebrow, he said.
Asked if there's an unwritten rule that drivers shouldn't touch Patrick, Villeneuve didn't mince words.
"If it hadn't been Danica, no one would have said anything," the Penske Racing pilot told QMI Agency on the eve of practice at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
"It's never her fault. When Danica knocks out another driver, it's the fault of the driver who was knocked out, and when a driver knocks out Danica, it's the other guy's fault. That's part of the game, I guess."
Villeneuve said many women drivers have complained that men don't treat them equally in the sport.
"I treated them like anyone else," he said, adding that he won't back down from Patrick should the two come tire-to-tire during Saturday during the NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
"I respect her talent, she has earned her place and she can defend herself. But ... when we get into the car, we know she's there. For me, her presence won't change my behaviour on the track."
If there's ever a truce between the two rivals, the offer won't likely come from Villeneuve.
"No, I have not contacted her since the incident," he said. "I have no reason to want to talk to her. What would that change?"