Rookie Gutierrez Starts Season with Double-Pole Effort Tooele, Utah - May 18, 2007-- It was a carbon-copy performance for the top-three drivers in the two qualifying sessions for opening Rounds of the 2007 Formula BMW USA Championship, at Miller...
Rookie Gutierrez Starts Season with Double-Pole Effort
Tooele, Utah - May 18, 2007-- It was a carbon-copy performance for the top-three drivers in the two qualifying sessions for opening Rounds of the 2007 Formula BMW USA Championship, at Miller Motorsports Park, in Tooele, Utah, as two Rookies sandwiched last season's Rookie champion at the front of the 20-car field. Although the margin from first to second lessened to only .023 seconds in the Round 2 session this morning, it was still Rookie Esteban Gutierrez (Autotecnica) scoring the double-pole over second-place qualifier and 2006 FBUSA Rookie champion Daniel Morad (Eurointernational). Gutierrez, 15, of Monterrey, Mexico, backed up his 1:29.585 minute time in yesterday's Round 1 session with a 1:29.773 minute lap around the 2.242-mile East circuit. 18-year old BMW Junior driver Canadian Jeffrey Petriello (Team KMA) rounded out the top-three.
While Gutierrez, Morad and Petriello paced the field it was Alexander Rossi (Hearn Motorsports) fourth fastest for Round 1. Sophomore Formula BMW USA driver Steven Guerrero (HBR Motorsport Team USA) took the spot for Round 2 and Yannick Hofman (Eurointernational), also returning for a second season, was the fifth-fastest qualifier for both races.
The 20-car field mixes eight strong returning drivers with 12 new hopefuls. Gutierrez, Petriello, Ricardo Favoretto (HBR Motorsports Team USA), Eric Morrow (Hearn Motorsports), Keenan Schmitke (Gelles Racing) and Timothy Hollowell (TADD Motorsports) are all classified as Rookies based on their limited experience. Excepting Gutierrez and Schmitke all are members of BMW Junior team with Morad.
"We decided to go out in the middle of the session as the track conditions were different than yesterday," Gutierrez said. "I don't have any long experience with open-wheel cars, but I know my years of karting will help me. I will try to race clean and not make any mistakes."
Morad, the only driver in the top-three with experience in the series and at Miller, noted, "I thought I would have the pole with the time I set, but we just missed it. I am confident as I know this track, I know how the start works, how the race pace goes and how to conserve my tires."
Petriello added, "We had a different setup then yesterday and went faster, but so did everyone else. I had a lot of understeer and oversteer at the end of the session, but we will go back, make our adjustments and I am confident we will be ready to race."
The Round 1 race is scheduled to start at 1:45 p.m. today. Sunday's Round 2 race is scheduled to start at 11:10 a.m.