17 year-old Canadian Rookie Claims Second and then Third Victory in a Row TORONTO, ON. -- (Aug 15, 2004) 17-year old James Hinchcliffe (AIM Autosport / Franczak Enterprises ...
17 year-old Canadian Rookie Claims Second and then Third Victory in a Row
TORONTO, ON. -- (Aug 15, 2004) 17-year old James Hinchcliffe (AIM Autosport / Franczak Enterprises #56) came home from the Denver Grand Prix this weekend with his third career victory in the Formula BMW USA Championship. Competing in front of the Champ Car fans, Hinchcliffe was victorious in both weekend events as he led every lap in a commanding race win on Sunday afternoon.
After performing well in Friday morning's test session, Hinchcliffe focused his attention on qualifying. Looking to continue his up front starts the quick Canadian set down a lap the put him in the third position for Saturday's round #11. Back to the garage for some minor setup changes, the AIM Autosport squad was ready to go back after the pole. Choosing not to use the two option tires until the race, Hinchcliffe managed a very fast lap that put him on pole by .289 seconds for Sunday's race. As the checkered flew on the session, Hinchcliffe had secured his fourth pole of the season and will look to go after the victory.
As the green flag flew at the start of the Saturday event, Hinchcliffe attacked right from the beginning making a bold move on the inside of the long Denver straight. Focusing his sites on the leader, Hinchcliffe chased down Andreas Wirth as the duo began to pull away from the rest of the field. Hinchcliffe made an attempt for the lead on lap 9 and as the door was shut on him, he lost his momentum and fell into the clutches of Matt Jaskol. Working together, Hinchcliffe and Jaskol were unable to catch Wirth until the point leader brushed the wall and obtained a damaged wing. "I came around the corner and Andreas was in the middle of the track," explained Hinchcliffe. "I had to get sideways to miss hitting him but fortunately was able to stay in the lead." After the scare Hinchcliffe refocused on the race and was able to keep the challenges of Jaskol behind him as he went to take his second victory in a row.
"I am extremely excited about today's result and am looking forward to tomorrow. We had a great car at the beginning of the race and felt good about my chances. As the race went on the car got loose and I was forced to slow up to stay off the walls. I am very happy for the team and looking to make a serious run for the championship in the final three events."
As James paced the field to the green flag for Sundays race his mind was on the overall championship. The Oakville, ON resident took the lead from the pole position entering turn one and never looked back. Hinchcliffe, with his two new option tires that the rest of the field used in qualifying, opened about a one second gap on second place and managed to keep the rest of the field behind him. James went on to secure his third win in a row, the first flag-to-flag victory in series history, as he looks to be the premiere champion in the Formula BMW USA Championship.
"This is my third win in a row and I have really tightened the championship up. It is going to be an awesome shoot out in Laguna in three weeks time. I'd have to once again thank my AIM Autosport team and my family and friends who have supported me all the way."
After the first 12 rounds in the 14 race championship series, Hinchcliffe sits second in the overall series championship only seven points out of the lead. The talented rookie also leads the BMW Rookie Cup by a commanding 35 points. James' next on-track action will be next in a few weeks time as the BMW series heads to Laguna Seca for the final event. For more information on the Formula BMW USA Championship please visit www.bmw-motorsport.com.