By David Reininger - Motorsport.com Toronto, Ont. (July 14, 2001) - David Rutledge, of West Vancouver, B.C., led all 35 laps to take the victory in today's Toyota Atlantic race at Exhibition Place in Toronto. It was the second time this season...
By David Reininger - Motorsport.com
Toronto, Ont. (July 14, 2001) - David Rutledge, of West Vancouver, B.C., led all 35 laps to take the victory in today's Toyota Atlantic race at Exhibition Place in Toronto. It was the second time this season the Canadian driver led flag-to-flag on his way to victory. He won the support race to the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal in the same fashion.
"To do this for the second time in Canada this year is just awesome," exclaimed Rutledge. "This track is very unique to any other track we race on.
Rutledge set two new track records at Toronto this weekend, one for the pole position and one for fastest race lap at 1:07.070. His pole time of 1:06.419 minutes was over three tenths of a second faster than Andrew Bordin's record set one year ago.
The qualifying record fell four times earlier today with Rutledge the first to break Bordin's one-year-old record. Hoover Orsi, who finished second today, briefly held the record before Rutledge lowered twice more.
The top three drivers in today's race were all below the previous track record set last year.
Orsi, who started on the outside of the front row, trailed Rutledge by 3.697 seconds at the checkered flag. Two full course caution periods closed the field, allowing Orsi to negate Rutledge's three-second lead, but the Brazilian was not able to capitalize on the restart.
"In the middle of the race, my car was really good and I was able to keep with David for eight laps or so. But today was not my day. I was a little bit unluckier with the back markers. David did a very good job, he was driving really good, not making mistakes."
"We played catch up to David for the whole weekend."
The top five, Rutledge, Orsi, Martin Basso, Michael Valiente and Grant Ryley, remained unchanged for the most of the race. With 5 laps to go, Valiente dove under Basso entering turn three but was unable to complete the pass. The pair touched wheels causing both cars to come to a stop, which allowed Ryley to move into third place.
"I slowed down early thinking there was going to be a little bit of contact, and sure enough, there was," said Ryley, who went on to finish third, 7.523 seconds behind Orsi.
Basso recovered to finish fourth. Valiente finished sixth behind rookie Joey Hand.
T. J. Bell finished seventh followed by Rodolfo Lavin, Jonathan Macri and Charles Hall.
Rutledge now leads Orsi (94-90) in the championship point standings.