Rookie Daniel Morad Takes Round 2 Win Lexington, Ohio - May 21, 2006-- Formula BMW USA Rookie driver Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport) took the Round 2 victory today at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, finishing 1.295 seconds ahead of John Zartarian...
Rookie Daniel Morad Takes Round 2 Win
Lexington, Ohio - May 21, 2006-- Formula BMW USA Rookie driver Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport) took the Round 2 victory today at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, finishing 1.295 seconds ahead of John Zartarian (Gelles Racing) in the 15-lap contest. He set the fastest time of the race (1:33.166) on the penultimate lap as he chased Morad. Adrien Herberts (Gelles Racing), coming from 15th starting position, finished third.
Morning rain meant the entire 26-car field started on rain tires and the wet track changed the complexion of the race in the second turn of the 2.25-mile, 13 turn circuit. Front row starter Simona de Silvestro (EuroInternational) and fourth place starter Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) got together in the 'Keyhole' turn bringing out the only caution period of the race.
Polesitter David Garza (EuroInternational) inherited the lead and held it for three laps after the green flag flew on lap four. Morad, who had moved up from his 12th starting position, passed Garza and Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA), who had to pit from second for a black flag, on lap seven. By lap eight the front of the field saw Morad first, Zartarian second and Doug Boyer (AIM Autosport) third. Boyer fell off course on lap 12 and Herberts took over the last podium position.
Zartarian, Herberts, fourth-place finisher Ryan Campbell and fifth-place finisher Sebastian Saavedra capped an excellent day for Gelles Racing as the team took four of the top-five spots.
The top-finishing Rookies were Morad (P1), Sebastian Saavedra (P5), David Garza (P8), Robert Thorne (P9) and Maxime Pelletier (P11).
"I am actually surprised myself and am really excited," said a delighted Morad. "I didn't really expect to be in fourth place right after the start. At the start I stayed right behind my teammate Doug Boyer and we made it through this mess. The full course caution came out and everyone just bunched up. I was patient, got into the lead and pulled away. Near the end John Zartarian started closing in, but I stayed on the track and took the finish line first."
Zartarian said, "I was trying to be cautious in the beginning of the race with all the cars flying off of the track because of the wet surface. I was cautious enough to stay on the track, carry as much speed and make as much time as I could. By the end of the race I found myself in second and Daniel right in front of me." He added, "I am always looking for the best line and in the rain I have been fast all weekend in the practice sessions. I didn't have such a great qualifying, but I knew in the rain I would have an advantage because of my experience. You have to be creative and smart in how to approach a wet track. Obviously, with the result today the team made a great effort."
Herberts said, "I came from starting position 15 to third and I am not quite sure yet what I did. Obviously I had a good start. I went on the outside of corner one and got by ten cars. At that point I found myself in fifth after one lap. I guess I had some good luck going my way. But when you work hard, you get luck. Robert Wickens got a black flag and Doug Boyer crashed out and all of a sudden I was third. I tried to play the cautious game, keeping the guys behind me, to bring home third."
Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2006 Formula BMW USA Championship will be held next weekend at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.