Hinchcliffe Keen to Repeat Portland Success Toronto, Canada (June 05, 2007) -- Canada's James Hinchcliffe returns to the scene of his maiden Champ Car Atlantic Championship victory this weekend as the Portland International Raceway, Oregon ...
Hinchcliffe Keen to Repeat Portland Success
Toronto, Canada (June 05, 2007) -- Canada's James Hinchcliffe returns to the scene of his maiden Champ Car Atlantic Championship victory this weekend as the Portland International Raceway, Oregon gets set to host Rounds 4 and 5 of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship, Friday 8th -- Sunday 10th June.
Hinchcliffe triumphed at the 1.964-mile permanent road course in Round 4 of last season's campaign, the rookie racer leading home a Forsythe Racing 1-3 finish, taking the checkered ahead of Britain's Ryan Lewis in second and Germany's Andreas Wirth in third. His victory ensured a tick in the win box in every season of open-wheel racing he'd contested to that point following multiple triumphs in Formula BMW USA and the Star Mazda Series before entering his rookie Atlantic season in 2006.
Returning to the Portland International Raceway this weekend as part of Sierra Sierra Enterprises two-car effort, partnering Brazil's Raphael Matos, the 20-year-old from Toronto would settle for repeat results in the first of the series two scheduled double-header meetings, the second set for Edmonton later in July. Heading to Portland off of a six-week break, Hinchcliffe's momentum is firmly on the up-swing following his first podium finish of the season last time out in Round 3's Houston event.
Bagging a third place finish in the #9 NOCO/ProWorks entry to move up to third overall in the driver standings, and the top-ranked Canadian in the series, James trails only Matos, winner of all three of this seasons races, and American Jonathan Bomarito in the title chase heading into Rounds 4 and 5 in Portland this weekend. With a run of eight races over the next seven weeks, this weekend's meeting heralds the start of the crux of the championship following April's three back-to-back street races.
Despite having posted two front-row qualifying slots, in Las Vegas and Houston, on the temporary street circuits, James is welcoming a return to a permanent road course this weekend and a reunion with the track which holds his only current Atlantic victory.
"I'm looking forward to being back in a race car," stated Hinchcliffe following the lengthy break. "That said I'm under no illusion about heading back to Portland even though I won there last season. I didn't have the quickest car on that occasion but I was consistent which ultimately led to the win. Now more than anything though I want to go to Portland and prove I can win on pace.
"We had a really productive test during the break and I think we've developed a really competitive road course car. I really enjoyed the opening stint on the street circuits in April, it's always an exciting challenge but you don't really get a feel for what a car's capable of until you get unleashed on a proper road course track like Portland. I can't wait to get going on Friday, the season starts here!"
Round 4 starts in Portland on Saturday 9th June at 12:15pm PST with Round 5 staring on Sunday 10th June at 11am PST. Both races will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Monday 18th June starting at 5pm EST.