Cleveland: James Hinchcliffe preview

Hinchcliffe Targeting Cleveland Victory With two pole positions and three straight podium finishes to his credit, a score in the win column is the only thing currently missing from James Hinchcliffe's report card from the 2007 Cooper Tires ...

Hinchcliffe Targeting Cleveland Victory

With two pole positions and three straight podium finishes to his credit, a score in the win column is the only thing currently missing from James Hinchcliffe's report card from the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda as the season approaches the halfway marker with Round 6 hosted in Cleveland this weekend, Friday 22nd -- Sunday 24th June.

The 20-year-old sophomore racer is keen to rectify the situation at the 2.106-mile temporary road course at the Burke Lakefront Airport, a short hop from Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sitting second overall in the point standings behind his Sierra Sierra Enterprises team-mate, Brazil's Raphael Matos, Hinchcliffe's riding a wave of momentum that saw him capture back-to-back pole positions in the #9 NOCO/ProWorks entry last time out in Portland and two second place finishes.

Heading to Ohio this weekend James is aiming to bolster his season's statistics, which include four front-row starts in five races combined with four top-four finishes and three consecutive podiums. In seeking his first win of the year he'll be keen to put the memories of a dismal double-header round at Cleveland from his rookie season firmly behind him. Unlucky to be caught up in incidents in both 2006 races there, both of which meant costly trips to the pits for repairs, the Toronto-resident was left languishing down the finishing order following the high of his previous race meeting in Portland having scored his sole Champ Car Atlantic Victory to-date.

Armed with more seat-time behind the wheel of his 300bhp Swift Mazda-Cosworth, and a full weekend's worth of track knowledge in Cleveland, James is eager to close the 17 point deficit to Matos in Ohio, not least as the series heads north of the border to his native Canada in July with races held at Mont-Tremblant, Toronto and Edmonton.

"The best way to get points is to win," replied Hinchcliffe when questioned as to whether he'd be playing it safe in the title hunt or challenging for victory. "I really want to win but I also acknowledge that I can't afford to make mistakes or be too impatient. Nobody can afford to DNF in this championship as it's just too close at the front. Cleveland has the potential for a lot of passing so this could end up being one of the most open and exciting races of the season!"

Commenting on the unique track layout he'll face once again this weekend James said, "I really like the circuit in Cleveland, it totally suits my style of driving." He continued, "I'm a big fan of these fast courses although there's nothing else out there to really compare the airport configuration to! It's pretty bumpy and there's not a lot of rubber down on the track, characteristics shared with street courses but the major difference here is that the track is just so wide and there's really nothing to hit."

Round 6 starts in Cleveland at 10:30am EST on Sunday 24th June. The 45-minute race will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Wednesday 4th July starting at 6pm EST.

-credit: hinchtown

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Series Atlantic
Drivers James Hinchcliffe