For immediate release PLAYER'S ATLANTIC DRIVER LEE BENTHAM HANGS TOUGH TO SNARE 5th-PLACE AT GRAND PRIX OF MONTEREY Monterey, California, September 11, 1999 - Player's driver Lee Bentham, who started 10th on the grid, recovered from a hit...
For immediate release
PLAYER'S ATLANTIC DRIVER LEE BENTHAM HANGS TOUGH TO SNARE 5th-PLACE AT GRAND PRIX OF MONTEREY
Monterey, California, September 11, 1999 - Player's driver Lee Bentham, who started 10th on the grid, recovered from a hit on the first lap and persevered to earn a fifth-place finish today in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race at the Grand Prix of Monterey.
Bentham's teammate Alexandre Tagliani wasn't as fortunate. The Lachenaie, Que., driver was running in third place when he was knocked off the track by a back marker and had to retire from the race, the next-to-last event of the Atlantic season.
Andrew Bordin, of Woodbridge, Ont., a Player's-funded driver, earned his second straight podium and fourth of the season with a third-place finish behind Buddy Rice and Anthony Lazzaro, who clinched the Atlantic drivers' title with his victory in today's race.
"It was an exciting race, but a tough one," commented Bentham, the Newmarket, Ont., driver who delivered his fourth top-5 performance of the season. "Unfortunately, after I got hit from behind on the first lap, the car didn't handle as well and it developed a push that got worse and worse as the race went on. It's too bad because our Player's team came up with a set-up that proved to be the right one for the warm-up session just before the race. The car was fast and I could have done even better if not for the contact."
Tagliani, who had started on the front row of the grid, was set to make a move on lap 16 to regain the second position from Buddy Rice when the misfortune with a back marker occurred in the section of the track known as the Corkscrew.
"This is really disappointing for everybody because the car was getting faster and faster," said Tagliani. "Buddy passed me early in the race, but because my Player's car was getting stronger all the time, I was catching up to him, and I'm pretty sure I could have passed him. "
Lazzaro, who has 180 points, succeeds Bentham as the Atlantic champion. Canadian Kenny Wilden clinched second place by finishing fourth today, while Rice climbed into third place ahead of Tagliani. Bordin, with 101 points, is in fifth place, seven points back of Tagliani, while Bentham is sixth.
The final race in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship takes place through the streets of Houston on September 26.
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