USA: Road Atlanta: Rounds 13, 14 season finale preview

Woodcliff Lake, NJ - September 27, 2005-- The decidedly difficult 2.54-miles of the Road Atlanta circuit in Braselton, Georgia will set the stage for the final two rounds of the 2005 Formula BMW USA Championship and determine who will win the ...

Woodcliff Lake, NJ - September 27, 2005-- The decidedly difficult 2.54-miles of the Road Atlanta circuit in Braselton, Georgia will set the stage for the final two rounds of the 2005 Formula BMW USA Championship and determine who will win the Overall and Rookie titles. Known for its challenging mixture of high and low speed corners, Road Atlanta also includes some of the largest elevation changes seen in North American road courses and rewards those drivers who are fast, smooth and patient.

Three BMW Junior drivers have topped the Formula BMW USA field throughout the season and are in contention for both the Overall and Rookie Championships. Sharing eight wins in the previous 12 rounds of competition, Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica), Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport) and Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA) have the most to win - and lose - at Road Atlanta.

Philippe, with five poles and three wins this season, stands two points ahead of Lacroix in Overall points and three ahead of Wickens in Rookie points.

The 15-year old Frenchman knows what he has to do to win the Championship. "I have driven Road Atlanta before when we tested in March so it won't be new for me," he says. "I think consistency will be the key there. I am sure we will be in the front, but some great drivers will be up there as well. I just need to be in front of Kevin and Robert."

After a difficult weekend in Denver, Lacroix, who has led the standings for most of the season, does not feel he has lost any momentum. He says, "I think I have a good chance to win the Championship because I am only two points behind Richard. I had some bad luck in Denver, but when we tested at Road Atlanta I was really good. I had the second fastest time. "

Wickens, 11 points back in the Overall standings and second to Philippe in Rookie points, has two wins and two third-place finishes. The only driver to have finished every race in the top-10, he scored his first pole of the year in Round 12 at Denver showing that he may have found more speed to add to his consistency.

He says, "My team and I will go to Road Atlanta in the same manner we have approached every other race. Each race is a new experience on a new track and we have been quite successful in rising to any challenge. If we continue to do what we have done, we can win the Championship."

Two one-half hour practice sessions will be held on Wednesday, September 28, followed by Round 13 qualifying at 3:45 p.m. Round 14 qualifying will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday with the Round 13 race is scheduled to start at 3:20 p.m. The Round 14 race is scheduled to start at 12:45 p.m. on Friday, and the Championship Banquet will begin at 6:00 p.m. that evening.

A total of 30 drivers have competed in at least one Formula BMW USA race this year and while the titles will be decided at Road Atlanta, the season will not be completely finished. All Formula BMW drivers worldwide who qualify can participate in the Formula BMW World Final at the Bahrain International Circuit on December 13th through 16th. Formula BMW drivers from the Asian, German, UK and North American Formula BMW programs will compete for the World Final crown and a BMW Formula One test.

Championship points after 12 of 14 races:
1. Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica, 128
2. Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport, 126
3. Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA, 117
4. James Davison (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 92
5. Maxime Soulet (Gelles Racing, 81
6. Edoardo Piscopo (EuroInternational, 76
7. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 75
8. Tom Sutherland (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 39
9. Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 36
10. Rob Bunker (AIM Autosport, 31
11. Justin Moon (Gelles Racing, 25
12. John Zartarian (Jensen MotorSport, 23
13. Tobias Hegewald (Atlantic Racing Team, 22
14. Jonathan Summerton (Walker Racing, 22
15. Daniel Herrington (Jensen MotorSport, 20
16. Matthew Lee (Twintooth/BRM Motorsport, 10
17. Adrien Herberts (Atlantic Racing Team, 8)
18. Doug Boyer (Jensen MotorSport, 8
19. Michael Patrizi (Walker Racing, 8
20. Darin Marcus (Gelles Racing, 7
21. Paul Rees (Walker Racing, 1
22. Derek Burseth (Burseth Racing, 0
23. Ryan Campbell (Gelles Racing, 0
24. Nathan DePagter (DRE Autosport, 0
25. Jules Duc (Jensen MotorSport, 0
26. Scott Harnell (SDH3 with Cinema Concepts, 0
27. Ryan Phinny (Gelles Racing, 0
28. Paul Rees (Walker Racing, 0
29. Robbie Pecorari (Walker Racing, 0
30. Dan Abbale (Atlantic Racing Team)

Rookies:
1. Richard Philippe (137
2. Robert Wickens (134
3. Kevin Lacroix (132)
4. James Davison (105
5. Reed Stevens (89
6. Edoardo Piscopo (84
7. Race Johnson (58
8. Rob Bunker (52
9. Justin Moon (39
10. John Zartarian (31
11. Matthew Lee (23
12. Tobias Hegewald (22
13. Doug Boyer (21
14. Darin Marcus (20
15. Adrien Herberts (19
16. Ryan Campbell (4
17. Jules Duc (2)
18. Nathan DePagter (0
19. Ryan Phinny (0)

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Robbie Pecorari , Darin Marcus , Robert Wickens , James Davison , Reed Stevens , Justin Moon , Kevin Lacroix , Daniel Herrington , Maxime Soulet , Adrien Herberts , Richard Philippe , Ryan Campbell , John Zartarian , Tom Sutherland , Nathan DePagter , Jules Duc , Tobias Hegewald , Ryan Phinny , Michael Patrizi , Jonathan Summerton , Paul Rees