STRONG OUTING FOR RAIMONDO AT LIME ROCK PARK Formula BMW Americas defending Rookie Champion takes two podiums and scores great points in the 2009 Championship St. Catharines, Ontario -- Gianmarco Raimondo, 2008 Formula BMW Rookie Champion,...
STRONG OUTING FOR RAIMONDO AT LIME ROCK PARK
Formula BMW Americas defending Rookie Champion takes two podiums and scores great points in the 2009 Championship
St. Catharines, Ontario -- Gianmarco Raimondo, 2008 Formula BMW Rookie Champion, had an outstanding weekend at Lime Rock Park, host to Rounds #8 and #9 of the 14 round Formula BMW Americas Series. In Friday timed qualifying action Raimondo would look to strike early and capture pole position. In the first round of timed qualifying Raimondo would clock in the third spot with a time of 58.169 just 0.125 off pole, but would later be promoted to second position following post-technical inspection. In the second qualifying session, the 18-year-old sophomore pilot would take third spot under changing track conditions. This would give Raimondo two great opportunities to score podium finishes in Saturday racing action.
"Qualifying was really good for me," comments Raimondo. "We had a good set-up on the car, and I was able to get the best out of it early in the session and get the quick laps I needed. The weather turned for the worse near the end of the second session, and I was lucky to get a least a couple of decent laps in early."
In race one, Raimondo would mount a strong charge early and look to take the lead quickly and control the race pace. GMo took his number 50 Team Autotecnica prepared machine to the lead on lap one entering corner one, signaling his intentions to be a force in the race. Raimondo would hold the lead for 17 laps until being moved to P2 on a late race restart. Not to be denied, Raimondo would get a great run coming off the final corner of the 1.53-mile Lime Rock Park track and drafted up to the gearbox of P1 before coming up half a car length short in a drag race to the checkered flag, missing the win by 0.032 seconds.
Like a replay of the race one, Raimondo would settle for his second runner-up finish of the weekend after a fierce battle for the lead with several different cars. With race two run under sunny skies and the hottest temperatures of the weekend, track conditions would change throughout the 20-lap event. At the drop of the green from a standing start, Raimondo would come out of corner one in third and hold station for the first half of the event. Raimondo would strike at P2 into one but could not hold pass. GMo would slip back to fourth for two laps then regain third before the second caution of the race would come out and eventually end the race under yellow.
"It was difficult to get any rhythm in going in the final stages of race two with all the caution laps," comments Raimondo. "I know we had something for leaders but ran out of laps and tires to make the charge forward."
With two top-three finishes, Raimondo closes the points gap to second with a score of 98 and only 52 points back from first. The Formula BMW America Series will compete at the 4.048-mile Road America layout with a tripleheader August 14-16, and then will wrap up the 2009 schedule with a doubleheader at Mosport International Raceway.
"I am very pleased to come out of Lime Rock with two podiums and some very valuable championship points," smiles Raimondo. "With five more rounds to go I feel we are in a great position to score victories and take a run at the points championship."
-credit: Raimondo Racing