Figge begins season with solid sixth place finish. MONTERREY, MEXICO (March 23, 2003) --Alex Figge, of Santa Barbara, Calif., today finished sixth in Round One of the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship at Fundidora Park. Under hot and...
Figge begins season with solid sixth place finish.
MONTERREY, MEXICO (March 23, 2003) --Alex Figge, of Santa Barbara, Calif., today finished sixth in Round One of the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship at Fundidora Park.
Under hot and sunny conditions, the 16-car CART Toyota Atlantic field took to the track for the opening round of the 2003 season early Sunday morning. Following five pace laps, increased from one after a car went off-course, the green flag waved to start the race. Getting a superb start, Figge moved up several positions heading into the hairpin turn. With the field bunched together, Figge got boxed in, losing the majority of the positions he had gained at the start. At the conclusion of the opening lap, Figge, driving the No. 69 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Patrick Racing Toyota Swift 0.14a, was in seventh position. While applying pressure to the car in front, Figge remained in seventh place for the first seven laps. On lap eight, Figge inherited sixth place as Joey Hand went wide, losing several positions. As the race progressed, Figge continuously pressured Aaron Justus in fifth place, while steadily posting faster laps. On lap 17, Figge encountered lapped traffic, which allowed Justus to build a sizeable gap. For the remainder of the race, Figge drove consistent clean laps. At the checkered flag, Figge finished sixth, setting the fourth fastest lap of the race, 1:25.240 (88.860 mph). The sixth place finish is a career best season-opening finish and significantly betters the 11th place finish scored last year in Monterrey. Winning the race was Michael Valiante, who led all but the opening three laps.
"This is a good way begin the season," said Figge. "I got a great start and was in position to move up the grid until we got to the hairpin, where I got boxed in. By the middle of the race I had a really fast car, unfortunately I lost some time in lapped traffic and never got the yellow I would have liked. I'm looking forward to building on this solid start at my hometown race, Long Beach."
Round Two of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship takes place at Long Beach, Calif., April 13, 2003.