The durability and reliability of Lola Cars International's Champ Cars was proved beyond doubt in America yesterday with an enthralling wheel-to-wheel finish to round 11 of the CART FedEx Championship Series. Lola drivers Juan Montoya and ...
The durability and reliability of Lola Cars International's Champ Cars was proved beyond doubt in America yesterday with an enthralling wheel-to-wheel finish to round 11 of the CART FedEx Championship Series.
Lola drivers Juan Montoya and Michael Andretti recorded the third closest finish in the history of the series in one of the toughest races of the season.
After 500 hard-charging miles round the Michigan Speedway two-mile oval - where speeds reach in excess of 245mph - Montoya edged out Andretti to take the chequered flag by just four hundredths of a second.
Having set the early pace, the two Lolas duelled for the lead throughout the closing 20 laps trading places as the race reached its thrilling climax. The pair were side-by-side through the final bend before the Colombian found just enough speed to nose ahead in his Toyota-powered chassis.
This was the Target Chip Ganassi Racing man's second win of the year and his first Champ Car success in a 500 mile event. However, Andretti's second place in the Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola - added to victory last week in Toronto, Canada - gives the American a 14-point lead in the 20-race championship. Montoya's stirring triumph, Lola's 94th in the series, puts the reigning CART champion's title challenge back on track. He leapt from eighth to fifth in the standings yesteday and is now only 16 points behind second place.
Lola's Managing Director David Bowes said: "After the first, this victory is the most satisfying of the year so far.
"Michigan is one of the most challenging races on the calendar and to see two Lolas come out of the last corner banging wheels to beat each other to the line was a fantastic sight. Let's hope for a repeat next weekend at Chicago where our drivers will going for a third consecutive win."
Lola was also in action with its sportscars in the fifth round of the American Le Mans Series at Sears Point Raceway, California. Americans Jon Field and Rick Sutherland put in a fine performance in their new B2K/10 SR1 to finish sixth overall and the top privately-entered car to pass the chequered flag. The pair had qualified ninth.