First podium for Zartarian and Herberts Gelles Racing steamrolls Top 5 with four drivers in F-BMW USA Mid-Ohio, May 22nd, 2006. -- Experience prevailed in the second round of the Formula BMW USA championship when Gelles Racing...
First podium for Zartarian and Herberts
Gelles Racing steamrolls Top 5 with four drivers in F-BMW USA
Mid-Ohio, May 22nd, 2006. -- Experience prevailed in the second round of the Formula BMW USA championship when Gelles Racing three returning drivers finished in second, third and fourth place with a Gelles rookie rounding out the Top 5, the best achievement ever by a BMW team. John Zartarian, Adrien Herberts, Ryan Campbell and Sebastian Saavedra took the checkered flag one after the other and completed with success at the first BMW USA Race weekend of the season. Maxime Pelletier completed the team effort in 11th. After two rounds, Zartarian sits second and Adrien Herberts third in the overall points standings while Saavedra is second in the rookie standings.
"We were celebrating yesterday, cheered team principal Bob Gelles. We knew we needed to improve after the results of the Saturday race but to get four places out of the Top 5 is the best accomplishment ever by a Formula BMW team in history; a phenomenal feat and reinforces we are the team to beat this year. John, Adrien, Ryan, Sebastian and Maxime were very quick after starting from a distance where we have not been accustom. With better places on the grid, I have no doubt one of them would have won the race. There is a camaraderie that exists amongst our Six Drivers that can not be described; there is true strength in numbers". This will provide a boost as we roll into Lime Rock next week.
First podium for Zartarian and Herberts
Starting from 3rd row, the tall Californian took only five laps to jump into second place with a 4.5 second space from the eventual winner. Lap after lap he closed the gap and passed the finish line a mere1.2 second difference for his first podium in the series. ''My car was spot-on for the conditions, as I posted the fastest lap of the race claimed Zartarian. I concentrated on closing in for a pass for the lead but we had only 12 laps and I would have needed 2 or 3 more to get by safely. I'll be in the hunt for the title from now on because I know I can take a good car to the track and I have the will to win.''
To a point, Herberts has to be the man of the day: starting from 15th place, he stormed to his first ever podium. ''I realized how strong my car was and suddenly I felt I was on a mission and could do anything with my machine, said the Vancouver, Canada resident. I wished I could have started closer but I'm still very happy with third and my first podium in Formula BMW USA; many more to come!''
Equally satisfied with a fourth overall was Lethbridge, Canada Campbell. ''Starting from 13th, I wanted to score some points, he said, but to race up to 4th was exciting. I tried to stay in Adrien's slipstream and Sebastian was right on my rear wing, which was the best way to use our speed and move up to the front. I can't wait till Lime Rock next week.''
Completing Top 5 was 15-year old Colombian Saavedra. ''We started on rain tires and it took a few laps to get used to the grip, he said. I wanted to make sure I kept my position but there were Adrien and Ryan in the hunt with me and they were a little quicker. I'm satisfied with a fifth overall and come away second in the rookie standings only 2-points from leading. I plan to leave Lime Rock with the lead.''
Maxime Pelletier started from 18th place and quickly moved up in 12th place within a few laps. ''I got into a real fight with two other cars and we passed one another many times. That kept me from moving in the field and I ended up in 11th. Mid-Ohio was a tremendous learning curve and I will benefit from the experience for the rest of the season.''
Finally, Joel Jackson suffered significant damage in the Saturday race while attempting to avoid another competitor that lost control of his car, contact could not be avoided. The crew worked all night (17-hours straight) on the #22 car and it was ready shortly after the start of the race but the team elected not to send him on the track without proper routine checks.''