Round two Birmingham results

Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 18th, 2003 - British drivers Charles Hall - the reigning champion of the Fran-Am Pro and Formula Renault World Winter Series - and Robert Bell - a two-time British Formula Renault Winter Series champion - captured...

Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 18th, 2003 - British drivers Charles Hall - the reigning champion of the Fran-Am Pro and Formula Renault World Winter Series - and Robert Bell - a two-time British Formula Renault Winter Series champion - captured first and second place today in Round 2 of the North American Fran- Am Pro Championship held on Barber Motorsport Park's road course in Alabama.

Rain fell hard before the start of the 21-lap Fran-Am Pro race. The track was still very wet when the field completed the parade lap with Robert Bell on pole position. At the start, Bell managed to stay in first place but was chased hard by Charles Hall. Bell, who drives for Team FirstAir, led the first laps with Hall, one of three drivers of team Gelles Racing in hot pursuit. Their battle was fantastic with both drivers showing superb driving skills on the slippery tarmac.

On lap 8, Hall executed a brilliant passing maneuver to slip ahead of Bell. And Hall quickly put some distance on Bell and the rest of the field. Meanwhile, Turkish driver Can Artam was driving a fantastic race despite these treacherous conditions. The Turkish driver - who has raced Formula 3 in the past - was racing in the rain for the first time in his career. He made it up into third position and battling hard with Canadian Mark Wilkins. Argentina's Juan Martin Ponté was also driving a fabulous race. Due to a technical infraction, Ponté started the race from last place but was up in sixth position a few laps before the end, having set the fastest lap of the race.

At the checkered on lap 21, the order was Charles Hall, Robert Bell, Can Artam, Mark Wilkins, Canadian rookie Andrew Ranger and Juan Martin Ponté. Hall beat Bell by 22.7 seconds. The results were still provisional at time of writing as technical scrutinizing was not completed.

"It was dry all week and when we saw the rain this morning we elected to go with a full rain set-up," said Robert Bell. "It proved to be a mistake because going to a dry set-up with rain tires proved to be the right combination. For the first six laps my car was great. After that, there was less water on the track and my car was slower than that of Charles Hall. Anyway, I drove as hard as I could and to finish second in these circumstances is not that bad.. "

Unfortunately, we don't have Charles Hall's nor Can Artam's comments. The two very wet drivers left the circuit immediately after the podium ceremonies.

RACE RESULTS - Barber Motorsport Park, Round 2 <pre> Top 10 Provisional

Pos     No.     Name                    Laps    Diff            Best Tm
1       1       Charles Hall            21                      1:33.886
2       7       Robert  Bell            21      22.785          1:35.491
3       77      Can Artam               21      33.634          1:34.706
4       34      Mark  Wilkins           21      33.787          1:34.608
5       27      Andrew Ranger           21      34.830          1:34.901
6       50      Juan Martin Ponte       21      44.698          1:32.978
7       3       Antoine Bessette        21      46.475          1:34.955
8       59      Matt Green              21      48.823          1:34.000
9       2       Kuno Wittmer            21      1:10.106        1:34.650
10      29      Ricardo Imery           21      1:13.732        1:34.494

</pre> Next round: Formula 1 Air Canada Grand Prix, Gilles Villeneuve Circuit, Montreal (Canada), June 13, 14 and 15.

-www.fran-am.com

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Gilles Villeneuve , Charles Hall , Kuno Wittmer , Antoine Bessette , Juan Martin Ponte , Ricardo Imery , Andrew Ranger , Mark Wilkins , Can Artam