Robert Wickens Claims Second in Atlantic Debut LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Sunday 8 April 2007 - Red Bull Team Forsythe made a powerful statement today on the downtown streets of Las Vegas as 18 year-old Robert Wickens took advantage of ...
Robert Wickens Claims Second in Atlantic Debut
LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Sunday 8 April 2007 - Red Bull Team Forsythe made a powerful statement today on the downtown streets of Las Vegas as 18 year-old Robert Wickens took advantage of Saturday's pole-winning qualifying effort to bring the #3 Red Bull / INDECK Forsythe entry home in second spot in an incident-filled event. The podium finish capped off a strong debut weekend for the Toronto native as the 34th edition of Champ Car Atlantic kicked off the 2007 season. Wickens' 16-year old teammate John Edwards of Little Rock, Arkansas, in the first street circuit race of his brief career, moved up several spots to run seventh in the early stages of the event only to find frustration as a competitor squeezed him into the unforgiving concrete wall, ending his day.
Wickens led into Turn One from his pole position but saw the first of several caution periods before the end of the first lap. On the restart, James Hinchcliffe drafted Wickens down the long front straight and moved to the lead only to see a second full-course caution. On the second restart, Wickens repaid his good friend and fellow Toronto native "Hinch" with a brave pass and reclaimed the lead. Finally with just four laps remaining another restart saw Rafael Matos, who had moved past Hinch for second, manage to squeeze past the Canadian teenager and hold onto the lead to the finish despite a furious charge by Wickens. On the final lap, the Red Bull Junior Team driver posted the fastest race lap but came up just 16/100th of a second short at the checkered flag. Wickens stands second in the point standings leading into next week's event at legendary Long Beach.
Robert Wickens - #3 Red Bull / INDECK Mazda-Cosworth/Cooper/Swift
Second in Point Standings with 30
"There are only so many tricks you can pull on a restart. Luckily I got one restart where I didn't get passed but then three corners later the yellow came out. The whole race was kind of a tease. I led in my first race then the yellow would come out and we would have to restart again. It was hard. I also lost my left mirror on the car so heading into corner one I couldn't see who was there and that's when Raphael (Matos) passed me and hats off to him. He ran a strong race and was really fast. Once he had got by me I was hoping it would stay green. I put my head down but there was a local yellow flag so I slowed down and so did Raphael who was a little more cautious than I was so I gained on him a little bit but I just ran out of time. The Red Bull Forsythe team did an incredible job."
John Edwards - #7 Red Bull / Indeck Mazda-Cosworth/Cooper/Swift
Did Not Finish, Classified 18th
18th in Point Standings with 3
"I got hit in the back early in the race and it seemed to mess up the handling, but I was still able to move up a few spots. Then late in the race I was close behind two cars and the car in front of me went inside to try and pass the car in front of him, so I came up the outside and tried to get around. Unfortunately he changed his mind and came back outside. I had no place to go and brushed the wall, so that was it. It's frustrating because the Forsythe team has done a great job and the Red Bull car was capable of being up front, but it just didn't come together. It was my first street race and definitely a learning experience, so I'm eager to get to Long Beach and produce the result we're capable of."
The Vegas Grand Prix Champ Car Atlantic Championship Race will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on ESPN2 Friday, April 13 at 5pm ET (check local listings). The next race on the calendar is the Imperial Capital Bank Atlantic Challenge, April 13-15 on the famous streets of downtown Long Beach, California, Round 2 as Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.