USA: Laguna Seca round 13 qualifying notes

Points leader Wirth scores pole for Round 13 Monterey, Calif. - Sept. 10, 2004-- Championship points leader Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) showed that he is the man to beat for the inaugural Formula BMW USA Championship, taking the pole in...

Points leader Wirth scores pole for Round 13

Monterey, Calif. - Sept. 10, 2004-- Championship points leader Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) showed that he is the man to beat for the inaugural Formula BMW USA Championship, taking the pole in today's Round 13 qualifying session. Wirth has led the Championship points since Round 1 and made a strong statement today in saving his fastest laps for the last few minutes of the session. He recorded a 1:28.248 minute lap around the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca circuit to take his second pole of the season. Matt Jaskol qualified second (1:28.310) and James Hinchcliffe third (1:28.379). The fourth man in the championship battle, Jonathan Summerton, was fourth (1:28.463). Only .215 seconds separate the four, guaranteeing an exciting Round 13 and race for the Championship.

This morning's one-hour practice was shortened to only 24 minutes because of an early morning fog surrounding the circuit. The top-five in that session were the top- five in Championship points, led by Matt Jaskol, Andreas Wirth, Jonathan Summerton, James Hinchcliffe and Billy Johnson.

Overall in the Championship, the top-five in points are Andreas Wirth (169), James Hinchcliffe (162), Jonathan Summerton (133), Matt Jaskol (131) and Billy Johnson (77).

James Hinchcliffe leads the Rookie points with 200. Summerton is second (173), Milner third (127), Graham Rahal fourth (120) and Tom Sutherland fifth (89).

The quickest Rookies in today's qualifying session were Hinchcliffe (P3), Jonathan Summerton (P4) and Graham Rahal (P7).

"This was an important pole for me today," said Wirth. "I have been looking forward to this weekend for the last three weeks and I think Laguna Seca is now my favorite track. The car could have been better in the fast corners today, but I know we can make it better for tomorrow."

Jaskol qualified second, but is only racing for first tomorrow. "The car was good, but I believe there are a few little things I can improve on for the race. I think everyone knows that Andreas and James have to be careful, but for me, I'll be racing like there is no tomorrow."

Hinchcliffe said, "I have a bit of a cushion on Jonathan so I can focus solely on Andreas tomorrow. With only seven points between us, if I win both races this weekend I will win the championship, regardless of where Andreas finishes."

The Round 13 race is scheduled to start at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow after Round 14 qualifying at 9:15 a.m. Sunday's Round 14 race is scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m.

-bmw-

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Graham Rahal , Billy Johnson , Andreas Wirth , Tom Sutherland , James Hinchcliffe , Jonathan Summerton , Matt Jaskol