Philippe scores his fifth pole of the season
Denver, Colo. - Aug. 12, 2005-- 15-year old Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica) drove to his fifth pole of the season in today's Round 11 Formula BMW USA qualifying session. His lap of 1:16.219 minutes around the 1.657-mile Grand Prix of Denver street circuit bested the field of 20 competitors. James Davison (HBR Motorsport Team USA) was second (1:16.598) for his best qualifying effort of the season. Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA) rounded out the top-three qualifiers (1:16.639).
The session was marked by two stoppages for incidents as the young drivers learned how to race the tight confines of a temporary street course. Top qualifier Philippe brought out the red flag on the ninth lap after setting his pole time on the previous lap. After the clean up was completed the green flag waved, but Justin Moon and Jules Duc found the wall on the next lap, effectively bringing the session to an end.
Michael Patrizi (Walker Racing) qualified fourth in his first Formula BMW USA appearance. Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA) continued his momentum from Round 10 and qualified fifth, his best of the season. Overall points leader Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport) qualified seventh for his lowest starting position of the season.
"I was not satisfied with my quick lap," said Philippe. "I was pushing a little more and unfortunately I made a mistake. I am glad that I was able to stay on pole. Tomorrow I will continue driving as hard as I can - I just won't be making any mistakes. My brother Nelson told me that this is a pretty crazy course because it is so tight and bumpy, but it really fits my driving style."
Davison said, "I just was starting to get into a rhythm early in the session when I touched the wall. It was not so hard, but I had to come into the pits. Richard and I were fortunate to hold our positions."
Wickens said, "It was tough because I knew I had to have a good lap in the early session just in case something happened. I got a decent lap, but I made one mistake and this was very costly. My car was a little off today. Hopefully we can make some improvements and do better in tomorrow morning's qualifying."
The top-five fastest in this morning's practice session were Wickens (1:16.582), Piscopo (1:16.618), Boyer (1:16.646), Sutherland (1:16.732) and Johnson (1:16.776).
The quickest Rookies in Round 11 qualifying were Philippe (P1), Davison (P2), Wickens (P3), Johnson (P5) and Matthew Lee (P6).
Qualifying for Round 12 is scheduled to start at 8:00 a.m. MT tomorrow followed by the Round 11 race starting at 1:00 p.m. MT Sunday's Round 12 race is scheduled to start at 10:15 a.m. MT.