Soulet, Gelles Racing star driver, earns two podiums Barber Motorsports Park, August 1, 2005. -- The fifth double-header of the Formula BMW USA proved to be rewarding for Gelles Racing star racer Maxime Soulet. The Belgium pilot was the...
Soulet, Gelles Racing star driver, earns two podiums
Barber Motorsports Park, August 1, 2005. -- The fifth double-header of the Formula BMW USA proved to be rewarding for Gelles Racing star racer Maxime Soulet. The Belgium pilot was the only one to step twice on the podium with a third place on Saturday and a second place on Sunday at Barber. By doing so, the Thierry Boutsen junior driver regained third place in the standings, only 16 points away from the lead. The 21 year-old veteran started the first race in fourth place by virtue of his position in the standings and ran steadily to earn his fifth podium of the season. Then it was from inside the third row for the second round: he sprinted to third by the first corner and held second place when the car in front of him went off two laps later.
"Maxime topped his best weekend with two podiums, said team owner Bob Gelles. He had done the same feat in the maiden program in Laguna Seca in May. He is so poised and never puts a wheel off the track. His patience was also rewarded, as was the case in both outings. Our other drivers, Justin Moon, Darin Marcus and Ryan Campbell, did not have their best weekend but Maxime saved both days and his chances for the championship are still very much alive with only 16 points behind the lead, there are still 80-points up for grabs in the remaining four races, I feel with the recent momentum and Maxime's usual consistency he will get the job done. I am very proud of this young man! "
Qualifying session flooded
Qualifying session was canceled on Friday after heavy thunderstorms hit the region. The starting grid was according to the actual ranking, which meant respectively P4, 9 15 and 18 for the Gelles crew. The 14-lap race was trouble free and Soulet finished third, Moon remained in 9th while Marcus moved up two places to 13. Campbell had to withdraw when a car behind stupidly hit his machine... on the warm-up lap!
A teammate encounter
For the second race, positions were again in the same order: Soulet P5, Moon P12, Marcus P13 and Campbell P16. While Soulet got off to a bright start to finish in second place, Soulet added, "I had a very good car today. The setup couldn't have been better. I had an excellent start. I passed James Davison and Richard Philippe on the start and after three laps Kevin Lacroix made a mistake and I moved into second position. I want to thank my team for working so hard this weekend." Teammates Moon and Marcus had to avoid one another and went off the course for a moment and were relegated behind in 14th (Marcus), 16th (Moon) and 17th (Campbell). A weekend to forget for those three drivers who struggled to move up in the standings, but Formula BMW USA is a development series and racing is filled with highs and lows.
New Champ Car Formula Atlantic cars on the way
Bob Gelles announced the purchase of two Champ Car Formula Atlantic cars with the new Swift 0.16a chassis and the 300-hp 2.3-liter Cosworth package. "We're very happy to step up to this new exciting series in 2006, added the team principal. With four FB2 cars entered in the high-tech BMW entry-level series, we feel this will be the best step in the North American ladder series leading to Champ Car, Indy Racing or Formula One. We will be ready when the season starts next year. "
Next rounds: the Grand Prix of Denver
Next BMW double header will take place in Denver in two weeks on the only temporary street course of the season. Bob Gelles likes to think Maxime Soulet will be the favorite to earn his first victory on this "king of streets" facility. Denver is a short 1.647-mile track with 11 turns.