Toronto Street Fight Ends Poorly for Andreas Wirth Toronto, Ontario -- July 10, 2006 -- After disappointing results in Cleveland, Andreas Wirth only managed to encounter more trouble in Toronto as the Champ Car Atlantic Series began the second...
Toronto Street Fight Ends Poorly for Andreas Wirth
Toronto, Ontario -- July 10, 2006 -- After disappointing results in Cleveland, Andreas Wirth only managed to encounter more trouble in Toronto as the Champ Car Atlantic Series began the second half of their season. With a mere nine-point lead going into the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto Atlantic Race, Wirth knew that success was imperative this weekend if he was to hold onto the Championship points-lead that he's maintained since the season opener in Long Beach.
Things seemed to be looking up for Andreas after the Cleveland double-header, as provisional qualifying in Toronto went relatively well, resulting in a third place provisional effort. Wirth reports, "The car was very good when we first went out on older tires and I was able to post the quickest time in the first half of the session. We lost a bit of balance when we put a new set of Yokohamas on, but I was for sure on a fast lap when the red flag came out. It's disappointing because I had a good car today; it was definitely better than third. I had wanted to try some changes, but I don't know if they were right - I didn't get too much time in the car before the red. We'll just have to see tomorrow. All of our cars were quick today, so I think we'll have a good day tomorrow in Final Qualifying!"
After frustration in provisional qualifying, Wirth experienced more disappointment as Friday's red flag impacted his final qualifying. Since the provisional session was shortened, Andreas and the team didn't have the track time necessary to work with changes they had made on the car. Wirth had this to say of the final session, "The car really wasn't there today, and the track was greasier than we were expecting. I don't know if it was the drifters before us or what, but I could have gone off! There were a lot of cars out there and traffic was a problem, but I knew I had to push; it was just do or die. It was a decent result for us but I'm a bit disappointed. We were only 2/100ths of a second off the front row, and a starting position can mean a lot on a street circuit like Toronto. I should be on the clean line for the standing start tomorrow, and hopefully I can move up. Starting from P3 might be better than P2 anyway; I'll be on the inside just looking to get around these guys -- I'm confident for tomorrow. It's all about points and I just have to do the best I can. The least I'll be happy with is a podium, but just as long as it's not a DNF."
Going into Sunday's event with optimism, Wirth felt confident that his solid race experience in Toronto and a third spot on the starting grid would be enough to get him cleanly through the first corner. In the end, despite a clean standing start, the over-exuberance of youth meant that no one was guaranteed to get through the first lap unscathed, not even the pole sitter. Andreas explains, "What can I say? I didn't get off the line very well - I had a bad start. I was hoping to make a move early on, but when I got to the first turn I had to slow for spinning cars! I got punched in the side and it flattened the tire and bent the suspension so I had to limp around the track and pit. The team did a great job patching the car back together but I lost a lot of laps. I went back out and could barely drive the car in a straight line! Once we knew I had moved up as far as possible, past other cars that had already dropped out, I came back into the pits and that was the end of my day. The only good thing was that some of the top contenders also had problems today, but my DNF was still enough for me to lose the points lead for the first time this season."
After a weekend full of frustration and disappointment, Andreas Wirth drops from a nine-point Championship points-lead to second place in the overall standings, trailing first place by just nine points. While this may mean a slight set-back for Wirth, he remains confident, optimistic and more eager than ever to return to the $2 Million hunt in Edmonton. Andreas summed it up like this, "Of course this isn't they way we hoped the weekend would turn out, but I know we can get it back in Edmonton. I have to thank the whole team, the engineers and all my guys for their hard work. It's disappointing for all of us to suffer a DNF, but the whole Forsythe Racing team was great about it, and they did a great job putting my car back together so that I could at least clock a few laps and get the best result possible under the circumstances. We'll get it back in Edmonton!"