Houston: Andreas Wirth race notes

Big Texas-Style Win for Wirth! Houston, Texas -- May 14, 2006 -- Despite a bumpy start to the weekend, rising star Andreas Wirth savours his second victory of 2006 in the Lone Star State. Making his third career Atlantic victory even sweeter, ...

Big Texas-Style Win for Wirth!

Houston, Texas -- May 14, 2006 -- Despite a bumpy start to the weekend, rising star Andreas Wirth savours his second victory of 2006 in the Lone Star State. Making his third career Atlantic victory even sweeter, Andreas' win in Houston represents the first time in 14 years that a driver has captured back-to-back wins in the opening two rounds of an Atlantic Championship.

Starting from second on the grid, Andreas took the lead in the early stages of an action packed race with a picture-perfect pass on the pole-sitter, Raphael Matos, on the new temporary track on the grounds of Reliant Stadium where it was said little passing would be had.

"We struggled a bit all weekend with the setup over the bumps"

said Wirth, "We weren't way off the pace in practice or qualifying and we just weren't at the level we were in Long Beach, but it was just about impossible to get a good clean lap in qualifying because of all the traffic and red flags, so I was a bit disappointed. Fortunately though, my car was really good at the beginning of the race, and I could get by Matos and just pull away."

As Wirth's car went away from him mid-race, increased tire pressures meant early braking and his early lead slipped from his grasp on lap 18 of what would go on to be a timed race, cut short to 36 laps. "The tire pressures got a bit too high and I had to brake way early in the corners and ended up losing two positions. Raphael got by and Graham just followed him through the inside of the corner and got past also, so I was thinking that was it."

However, Wirth's patience and experience paid off as he persisted behind the leaders through four full-course yellows that were spotted with some dodgy restarts, which were dubbed "dangerous" by others of the 28-car field. On the final restart, with just five laps remaining, Wirth seemed to be keeping his distance, possibly expecting another incident. And as if it had been part of his plan all along, Wirth regained the lead when Matos and Rahal, who were battling for the lead heading into the Turn 1 chicane, made contact.

After the deciding sequence change, it was no challenge for Wirth to hold off the rest of the pack as he took the checkers with a 5.542 lead over second place "challenger" Simon Pagenaud and a 7.334 lead over third place finisher Jonathan Bomarito.

With great enthusiasm Andreas relates his win, "It's fantastic to win here in Houston! I got lucky at the end when they tangled in the chicane. I pretty much saw it coming when Graham dove inside Raphael and I just waited for it to happen. I was lucky. Like I said, my car was good in the beginning, but if we didn't have those cautions, no one knows if I would have won. What can I say though? Two wins in two races - I've never had such a good start to a season. I just need to stay at this level, and I know I can do that with this team. I've got a good points lead and I don't think I'll feel any pressure heading into Monterrey."

Going into round three of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship of 2006 at Monterrey Mexico, Andreas tightens his grip on the Championship as he positions himself well with 65 Championship points, a 14 point lead over second place. Andreas proves himself again to be Fab 1 of 4 on the Forsythe Championship Atlantic Racing team.

Finally, Andreas wants to thank everyone at Forsythe Championship Racing, his guys, all the Engineers, and especially his Engineer - Nick Harvey for everything this weekend ... he couldn't have made another visit to Victory Lane without them!

You can watch Andreas take his second win of 2006 on Speed Channel this coming Saturday May 20th at 1pm Eastern time and repeated on Wednesday May 24th at 3pm.

Round 3 of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship will be held next weekend on Sunday May 21st, 2006 at the Tecate Grand Prix of Monterrey Presented by Roshfrans in Monterrey, Mexico.

-Andreas Wirth Racing

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Jonathan Bomarito , Andreas Wirth , Simon Pagenaud