Speedy Dan Clarke Finishes Third and Earns First Podium Finish in Denver, Philippe Rounds Out the Top Five Denver, CO. (August 13, 2006): CTE Racing HVM drivers Dan Clarke and Nelson Philippe turned the team's most challenging weekend of ...
Speedy Dan Clarke Finishes Third and Earns First Podium Finish in Denver, Philippe Rounds Out the Top Five
Denver, CO. (August 13, 2006): CTE Racing HVM drivers Dan Clarke and Nelson Philippe turned the team's most challenging weekend of the season into its most successful with both drivers finishing in the top five and Clarke earning his first podium finish.
Rookie Dan Clarke (#14 CTE Racing HVM/Ford-Cosworth/Lola) has been knocking on the door for his first podium with incredible driving performances the past several races but today was finally his day. Lack of grip was a problem up and down the paddock. Clarke started the race with a car he was not 100% comfortable with, yet the rookie persevered as the car improved. He kept his head down with the ambition to just get a good result and take home some valuable championship points but, instead, he drove the wheels off the #14 Lola and picked up his first podium along the way. Today he became the first rookie of the season to score a podium finish.
Dan Clarke: "That was an amazing race. I really didn't expect to be on the podium today after the tough weekend we've had, but it just goes to prove how perseverance can pay off. A few laps from the end I passed Justin Wilson and was pretty pleased with that and in fifth spot, which was set to be my best finish of the season. To take third place is just unbelievable."
Nelson Philippe (#4 CTE Racing HVM/Ford-Cosworth/Lola) continued his string of top five performances today, turning his weekend around in a big way. Philippe arrived in Denver ninth in the series championship points standings and leaves tied for fourth. Philippe made an early stop as he fought a loose car and took on a set of Bridgestone "black" tires searching for an improvement. His engineers early stop strategy was a great call as Philippe shot to sixth on the time charts and chased down the leaders with a very strong run. Philippe's first pit stop was perfect, but it was the second stop that changed his fate. An airgun problem added 10 seconds to Philippe's second and final stop and cost the driver two positions. Philippe passed Wilson and worked his way to seventh position with two laps to go. He gained two positions with the last lap incident and took the checkered flag on mere fumes, but still recorded his sixth top five of the season with a brilliant drive in Denver.
Nelson Philippe: "It's unfortunate that we missed a podium for the second weekend in a row. It was a tough race and we had a very good run going, we were set for a podium. Then, on our second stop, we had an air gun failure and lost 10 seconds and two spots in the pits. It was disappointing, especially since it was such a tough weekend. I'll take the points for fifth and focus on Montreal."
CTE-HVM team co-owner Keith Wiggins comments: "We've been pretty competitive this year and we've had a few podiums get away from us. It was a challenging weekend and it certainly wasn't one of our strongest qualifying, so it was good to see that in the race both drivers were competitive. We had some bad luck at the last race in San Jose so today it was good to have something go our way. Having said that the only thing that spoils the result a bit is the disappointment for Nelson. He was clearly in position to have a podium, if we hadn't had a wheel gun problem on his last pitstop. But I am very happy for Dan; he's proved capable and deserved a good result."
CTE-HVM team partner, Cedric The Entertainer on Dan Clarke's podium: "Dan's been working hard at getting used to these cars and these tracks and he's been making progress every single race. We all had confidence that he would get there. I am excited to see him get some real fruits for his effort."