Lee adds a second pole in Denver Denver, Colo. - August 12, 2006-- Matt Lee (Team Autotecnica) followed up his pole performance in yesterday's Round 11 qualifying to set a new Formula BMW USA qualifying record in this morning's Round 12...
Lee adds a second pole in Denver
Denver, Colo. - August 12, 2006-- Matt Lee (Team Autotecnica) followed up his pole performance in yesterday's Round 11 qualifying to set a new Formula BMW USA qualifying record in this morning's Round 12 qualifying session. The only driver in the 24-car field to break into the 1:14 minute bracket, his lap of 1:14.952 minutes around the 1.657-mile Grand Prix of Denver circuit gave the 16-year old from Syosset, New York a record of five poles in the 2006 season. Ryan Phinny (Hearn Motorsports) qualified second (1:15.173) for the 16-year old Californian's first front row start. Point leader Robert Wickens (EuroInternational) will start third (1:15.259), equaling his effort in Round 11 qualifying.
The 30-minute qualifying session ran without incident as the young drivers gained experience with the tight confines of the second temporary street circuit of the year. Lee was on top at the tenth minute and, as it has become the case in Formula BMW USA qualifying, the top-three was not finalized until the closing minutes. Phinny and Wickens fought over the top-three starting positions with Phinny moving to P2 in the final two minutes and Wickens securing P3 as the checkered flag waved.
Maxime Pelletier (Gelles Racing) will roll off fourth, the fastest Rookie in the field and the best starting position to-date for the 15-year old BMW Junior driver. The next fastest Rookies in Round 12 qualifying were Daniel Morad (P6), Sebastian Saavedra (P7), Robert Thorne (P9) and Jordan Dick (P11).
Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) will start fifth to round out the top-five. Simona De Silvestro (EuroInternational), who qualified 10th today, will start at the rear of the grid. Following post-qualifying inspection her car was found not to be in compliance.
"I am really happy about my second pole this weekend," said a delighted Lee. "We needed the points. If we are able to finish all remaining races in the top-three I am confident to win the championship. It feels good to be a record breaker and set the fastest lap today. For tomorrow's race I hope to keep it clean and to win it. In Denver it is a lot easier to stay in front than in San Jose."
Phinny said, "I am happy with my second starting position. It was a long qualifying session for me, hunting Matt Lee all the time. We were very close. I am going to start from the front row tomorrow, hope to lead, and win at the end. I really enjoy this race track. Compared to San Jose, it is more fun and higher speed."
Wickens said, "I feel a lot better than I did yesterday. I got the same position, but the gap is much smaller. I am really looking forward to the race. I think we will have a very good start and will score good points. Matt Lee is still very fast, but maybe we can make some more changes to the car to make it better."
The Round 11 race is scheduled to start at 12:15 p.m. today and the Round 12 race is scheduled to start at 10:15 a.m. tomorrow.