Defending CART FedEx Series Champion Gil de Ferran captured his first victory of the season last weekend at the inaugural Rockingham 500 in Corby, England in spectacular fashion. De Ferran led 83 of the first 138 laps of the 140-lap race. He...
Defending CART FedEx Series Champion Gil de Ferran captured his first victory of the season last weekend at the inaugural Rockingham 500 in Corby, England in spectacular fashion. De Ferran led 83 of the first 138 laps of the 140-lap race. He lost the lead on lap 139 to Kenny Brack when he was held up in traffic. On a last lap sprint to the finish, de Ferran caught Brack and they went side-by-side through the final two turns before de Ferran pulled away on the front straight taking the checkered flag 0.634 seconds ahead of Brack.
De Ferran's win was very special as it was a sort of "homecoming" for him. "My wife is British and my daughter was born here. I lived and raced here for seven years, so in many ways, this is really where my professional and personal life started. It's very special for me to win the inaugural race in England," de Ferran said after the race.
On a historical note, Penske Racing was also the victor the last time Champ Cars raced in England. On October 7, 1978, Rick Mears scored his third career victory when he won at Brand's Hatch.
De Ferran's win enabled him to maintain second place in the championship standings and close the gap to just six points behind leader Kenny Brack. In addition to his 20 points for the win, de Ferran also scored a point for leading the most laps. De Ferran has scored points in the last six races run and he's scored points in twelve of sixteen races this season.
"Gil has been deserving of a victory for quite some time and it was great to see him do it in that fashion. He has done a great job of focusing on the Championship throughout the ups and downs this season," said Tim Cindric, President, Penske Racing Inc. "Helio is only one win away from being right there with Gil and Kenny, so we are confident that we're capable of challenging for the Championship on both fronts should we remain focused."
During the month of October, the CART FedEx Series competes on three temporary/road courses; Houston on October 7, Laguna Seca on October 14 and Australia on October 28.
Historically, Marlboro Team Penske has done well on these three temporary/road courses collecting a total of seven victories.
Last season, Gil de Ferran took the pole and finished third in Houston. He went on to qualify on the front row (second) at both Laguna Seca - where he went on to finish second - and Australia. Castroneves finished in the points at all three events, including taking a wire-to-wire victory in Laguna Seca.
This season, Marlboro Team Penske has qualified in the top-three in seven of the nine temporary/road races and finished on the podium in five including three wins (Long Beach, Detroit and Mid-Ohio).