USA: Laguna Seca Saturday race report

Wirth scores his fourth victory; Hinchcliffe clinches Rookie Championship Monterey, Calif. - Sept. 11, 2004-- Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) took a flag-to- flag victory in Round 13 of the 2004 Formula BMW USA Championship, moving ever closer to...

Wirth scores his fourth victory; Hinchcliffe clinches Rookie Championship

Monterey, Calif. - Sept. 11, 2004-- Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) took a flag-to- flag victory in Round 13 of the 2004 Formula BMW USA Championship, moving ever closer to his first Formula BMW Championship. The season-long points leader held off a charge by teammate Jonathan Summerton to win the 15-lap contest by 1.284 seconds and now holds a 15 point lead heading into tomorrow's final round. Jonathan Summerton finished second, his sixth trip to the podium this season. James Hinchcliffe finished third and clinched the Rookie Championship. The young Canadian BMW Junior driver has led the Rookie points from Round 1 and has had a stellar season, winning three times and finishing out of the top-five only once. 15 points behind Wirth, he still has an outside chance at the overall Championship in tomorrow's Round 14 race.

Overall, the top-five in the Championship are Wirth (189), Hinchcliffe (174), Summerton (148), Matt Jaskol (141) and Billy Johnson (85)

The top-finishing Rookies were Summerton (P2), Hinchcliffe (P3) and Graham Rahal (P6). With the Rookie Championship awarded to Hinchcliffe with 215 points, the battle for the remaining top positions is between Summerton (193), Tom Milner (135) and Graham Rahal (132).

"I love driving these technical tracks so if I can win the Championship here at Laguna Seca it will be extra special," said Wirth. "If James wins the race tomorrow, I only need a sixth place finish to win the Championship. Of course, I will be happy with anything better than sixth, but I will race to win."

Summerton dogged Wirth race-long, making a strong move under braking for turn 11 on lap 10, but could not make the pass for the lead stick. "I think I should have waited longer to try for the lead, but I thought James and Matt were catching us quickly. It was a risky move and it almost worked. I thought I had another shot at Andreas a few laps later, but I lost a bit of momentum entering the Corkscrew and had to settle for second."

Hinchcliffe said, "The Rookie title, along with a top-three finish in the overall Championship, were my two goals this season. Four of the BMW Junior drivers are at the top of the Rookie points so we have proven ourselves to BMW. I still have a shot at the overall Championship so that will be my focus tomorrow."

The Round 14 race is scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m. tomorrow.

-fbmw usa-

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Graham Rahal , Billy Johnson , Andreas Wirth , Jonathan Summerton , Matt Jaskol