Piscopo Takes Round 12 Victory
Denver, Colo. - Aug. 14, 2005-- Edoardo Piscopo (EuroInternational) raced his way to the top of the Formula BMW USA podium for the second time, taking the Round 12 victory today at the Grand Prix of Denver. The 17-year old from Rome, Italy and Round 10 winner finished fourth yesterday in Round 11 and led 19 of 20 laps today in taking the checkered flag. He finished 3.305 seconds in front of Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica). Philippe, with his third runner-up finish, in addition to his three wins, now takes possession of the Overall and Rookie Championship lead for the first time this season.
Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA) finished third. Johnson's first career Formula BMW USA podium was a well-deserved one having started from the 18th position on the grid and only securing the podium with a last-lap pass of, then Overall point leader Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport).
Round 12 provided Grand Prix of Denver fans with one of the most exciting Formula BMW USA races of the year. Piscopo moved up into second from his fourth-place starting spot with an excellent start. Polesitter Robert Wickens was called to the pits to serve a stop and go penalty for jumping the standing start. Piscopo inherited the lead and Philippe second. Wickens rejoined the race in the last position, moving to a fine fifth-place finish to retain third in Overall points and move to second in Rookie points.
The turning point of the race came on lap 12 when Adrien Herberts (Atlantic Racing Team) made contact with the wall and Matthew Lee (Twintooth Racing/BRM Motorsports) and Daniel Herrington (Jensen MotorSport) were unable to avoid his disabled car, putting all three out of the race. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA), having moved up from his 12th starting position to fifth, was also collected in the incident and retired. Stevens set the fastest lap of the race on lap 10 (1:15.607), to establish a new race record. Philippe, who had fallen to sixth, benefited from the crash and moved back to the second position. Lacroix moved to fourth and Johnson to fifth.
The Safety Car led the field for five laps and when the green flag waved on lap 17 Lacroix tried Philippe for second, but Michael Patrizi (Walker Racing) found the tire wall, bringing out a local yellow flag. With Piscopo firmly in control of the lead, Philippe held second while Johnson got by Lacroix for third on the final lap.
Piscopo said, "I had an awesome car today and my team worked well. My aim was to pass as many people as possible at the beginning of the race and then to stay focused in order to increase and manage my gap like I did in Round 10 at Barber."
Philippe said, "Today was probably one of the hardest fights I have had. The race was really a big challenge to stay in the front. I went back to sixth, but I was able to benefit from the lap 12 crash and came back to second. To finish second under these circumstances is good for the team and for me."
Johnson said, "HBR gave me a great car today. I started 18th because the qualifying session was unlucky for me. I tried to move up one by one and thanks to the four car crash I moved to fourth. I passed Kevin on the last lap. We touched a little bit, but it was no big deal. I have been fast all weekend and being on the podium today is like a dream come true."
Philippe takes over the lead in Overall points; Lacroix falls to second - two points in arrears. Wickens is third, Maxime Soulet fourth and James Davison fifth.
The top finishing Rookies were Piscopo (P1), Philippe (P2), Johnson (P3), Lacroix (P4) and Wickens (P6).
Philippe leads the Rookie points by three over Wickens. Lacroix falls to third, Davison stands fourth and Stevens is fifth.
The 2005 Formula BMW USA Championship deciding Rounds 13 and 14 will be held on September 28-30 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.