Lee takes Mosport win, Wickens is USA champion

Lee takes Mosport win, Wickens is USA champion

Matt Lee won the Formula BMW Grand Prix of Mosport race in 'slick' fashion: unlike most competitors, Lee switched to slick, dry-weather tires early in the damp, overcast race, dropping to dead last, but then passed the field to...

Matt Lee won the Formula BMW Grand Prix of Mosport race in 'slick' fashion: unlike most competitors, Lee switched to slick, dry-weather tires early in the damp, overcast race, dropping to dead last, but then passed the field to win.

Matt Lee.
Photo by Tom Haapanen.
"The team and I made a smart call," said Lee. "It was a 50/50 call. I was really amazed at how fast I was catching up on everyone."

With most of the rest of the field still on the grooved wet-weather tires, Lee was able to pass cars at will. However, he was still only 8th after the 13th of the 16 laps, but 3rd before the end of the 14th lap, and second at the first corner of lap 15. He took the lead before the end of 15, and then finished 5.658 seconds ahead of Reed Stevens, who led almost the entire race.

Championship leader Robert Wickens, from nearby Toronto, only needed 7th place to clinch his championship, or so, depending on where others finished. He did one better than that and finished 6th. He had spent most of the race in 2nd or 3rd, but intelligently did not get himself into trouble and safely finished the race where he needed to.

"Dry tires were definitely the way to go," he said about his decision to stay on wets. "But I just tried to get what we needed for the day." A few times, however, he found himself in dangerous, heated battles. "It wasn't by choice," he admitted.

Robert Wickens.
Photo by Tom Haapanen.
The Canadian champion was joined by a couple of other Canadians in the post-race ceremonies. Daniel Morad, a 16 year old from nearby Markham, Ontario, won the rookie championship, and the two young champs were greeted and congratulated by Ron Fellows, Canadian icon and challenger in the American Le Man series. Both youngsters had Fellows listed as their favourite driver in the Formula BMW driver biographies publication.

Third place in the race, 3.5 seconds behind Stevens and 9.1 behind the race winner Lee, was yet another Canadian, Adrien Herberts, who came up from 11th position on the grid. He too, had changed to slick tires.

"I called into the pits and the guys said they were ready to go," said Herberts.

Daniel Morad.
Photo by Michael Tan.
Swiss-born Italian female driver Simona di Silvestro, who had thrilled fans in yesterday's race, did so again today. She recived a qualifying penalty and started last on the grid. But, like the day before, she fought hard and passed cars. She was up to 8th after the full-course yellow that came out on lap 8, but ended up 10th, after falling to those on slicks. Still not bad from 25th and last on the grid.

Race Johnson, who started 3rd, finished in 4th, with Robert Thorne 5th, and the champion Wickens 6th.

Asked where he will be next year, Wickens said, "I don't know. That decision will be made by Red Bull and they haven't decided yet."

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