Rutledge On Podium, Valiante Fourth At Trois Rivieres Lynx Racing drivers David Rutledge and Michael Valiante, both from Vancouver, qualified third and fourth - and finished in the same order - in the seventh round of the CART Toyota Atlantic...
Rutledge On Podium, Valiante Fourth At Trois Rivieres
Lynx Racing drivers David Rutledge and Michael Valiante, both from Vancouver, qualified third and fourth - and finished in the same order - in the seventh round of the CART Toyota Atlantic series at the Grand Prix du Trois Rivieres. Rutledge's archrival, Hoover Orsi, won the race from the pole, and Martin Basso started and finished second. This gives Orsi four wins this season to Rutledge's three (all from the pole - at Long Beach, Montreal and Toronto), and a 24-point lead in the championship battle. The Atlantic series awards 20 points for a victory, and there are four races left in the 2001 season.
"I had a great car in the opening laps, until I tried to pass Basso for second and he damaged the front wing on my car while trying to block me," says Rutledge. "After the incident, our aero balance was down to about 25%, which gave the car massive understeer. It took me a couple of laps to figure out how to trick the car through the turns by tossing it into the corners in a massive slide and then catching it just before I hit the wall. We still set the fastest lap of the race, and although Orsi gained a little on me in the points, the championship battle is far from over. We'll have a very good car at all the remaining races and it's going to be a fight to the finish.
Rutledge's Lynx teammate, Michael Valiante, in only his fourth Atlantic race, continued to impress with his third top-five placing. He finished fourth in his first-ever Atlantic race, at Long Beach, and started from the front row and finished second at Montreal. He finished seventh at Toronto after an encounter with Martin Basso launched him into the air and damaged his rear wing.
"My car was as good as David's, and I actually managed to pass him in the early laps, but I cooked my tires trying to get around Basso, and that pretty much dictated the rest of my race," said Valiante. "I'm reasonably happy about finishing fourth in my first drive on such a difficult track and I'll be going into high gear to try and find the sponsorship to run the Vancouver race. Lynx is a great team, and I'd love nothing more than to drive every race with them."
ESPN2 and ESPN International will broadcast Sunday's Round 8 race from Trois-Rivieres on Saturday, August 11, at 5:00 p.m. ET, while Atlantic fans in Canada can watch the race on CTV SportsNet on Tuesday, August 14, at 7:00 p.m. in the EAST, ONTARIO and WEST time zones, and at 8:00 p.m. in the PACIFIC zone. CTV repeat dates are: EAST, Thursday, August 16, 1:30 p.m., PACIFIC, Friday, August 17, 3:00 p.m., WEST, Thursday, August 16, 3:00 p.m., and ONTARIO, no repeat date. ESPN2 will replay the race on Tuesday, August 14, at 4:00 a.m. EST.
2001 marks the 11th anniversary of Lynx Racing, one of the most unique organizations in auto racing today. Created and owned by two women, Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty, Lynx is both a championship-winning racing team and a uniquely successful driver development program that focuses on a driver's mental, psychological and spiritual in addition to their on-track skills.
The Lynx mission is to seek out young drivers with the desire and potential to become champions at the highest levels of the sport and provide them with the funding, equipment and training to take the last step toward realizing that potential, a process the team calls 'Destiny by Design.' Lynx alumni include CART FedEx drivers Patrick Carpentier (Player's/Forsythe) and Memo Gidley (Target Chip Ganassi).