Forsythe Atlantic Foursome -- Strong Results in Race One of Cleveland Doubleheader CLEVELAND, Ohio -- June 24, 2006 -- Atlantic Championship points leader Andreas Wirth of Forsythe Championship Racing expanded his gap over a talented field ...
Forsythe Atlantic Foursome -- Strong Results in Race One of Cleveland Doubleheader
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- June 24, 2006 -- Atlantic Championship points leader Andreas Wirth of Forsythe Championship Racing expanded his gap over a talented field today in Cleveland as he claimed his fourth podium of the year with his second consecutive third place finish. The native of Heidelberg, Germany grabbed Pole Position for the race in Friday Qualifying but the when the red lights went out to signal the first F1-style standing start for the Atlantic cars in almost eight years, fellow front-row starter Simon Pagenaud took the lead going into Turn 1. Wirth shadowed Pagenaud for the first half of the event until the lead pack came up on traffic, allowing Graham Rahal past both Wirth and then Pagenaud for the lead. The threesome finished in that order.
Wirth's teammates Leonardo Maia, Richard Philippe and James Hinchcliffe all had strong starts to the event with Maia and Philippe moving up the order to finish in 7th and 11th places Hinchcliffe had perhaps the strongest start of all but was clipped by another car on Lap 1 damaging his front wing and forcing an early pit stop, knocking the Canadian rookie down the field to an eventual 17th place finish. After moving to second spot in the Championship by scoring his first career Atlantic win last weekend in Portland, Hinchcliffe fell to 4th in the standings.
"I'm disappointed, but right now we just need to get points every chance we get. I got off the start a bit slow and Simon (Pagenaud) got past for the lead. I was just keeping a steady pace in the early part of the race but then the team came on the radio and told me Graham (Rahal) was closing so I stepped up the pace and got on Simon's gearbox. I thought I might be able to make a pass coming out of Turn 8 but I had to think better of it and unfortunately I was off line going into the chicane leading onto the front straight and that let Graham get by me. The team is doing a great job this weekend and I'll be looking to get another podium tomorrow!"
"I had a great start and was trying to find a way around Rahal before the first turn, but he was blocking the inside so I just had to follow him through. I got a bit caught up in traffic on that first lap and lost a couple of spots, but then I was able to move up and make some passes. The car was getting a bit loose towards the end but overall it was a good result. The team's been doing a great job and I'm looking forward to moving up tomorrow and getting my first podium of the year."
"I've not had much luck this year so far so it's good to get some points. I went off track on the first lap and lost a couple of spots (Philippe finished the first lap in 19th spot), but I just put my head down after that and started going after people. The car was pretty good and I made a bunch of passes so I'm very happy with 11th, especially since I qualified third for tomorrow's race! Hopefully we can keep this momentum going and get the good finish my guys deserve."
"Oh man, what a great start! I was in the middle of the pack and it was like the seas just parted; I went straight down the middle while everybody seemed to be trying to position themselves on the inside or the outside. I came all the way through and found myself right behind Leo at Turn 1. On that first lap he went past another car and I tried to follow but I wasn't close enough and tried to back out. Unfortunately I didn't quite do it and the car clipped my front wing. It was rubbing on the tire so I had to pit and that was it. But I'll be starting on Row 5 tomorrow and if I get another blinder start like that it should be good!"