Edmonton I: James Hinchcliffe race report

Hinchcliffe Scores Edmonton Podium Edmonton, Alberta -- James Hinchcliffe collected his fifth podium of the season as he scored a third place finish Saturday in Round 9 of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship ...

Hinchcliffe Scores Edmonton Podium

Edmonton, Alberta -- James Hinchcliffe collected his fifth podium of the season as he scored a third place finish Saturday in Round 9 of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, hosted at the temporary Edmonton City Centre Airport track.

The 20-year-old Toronto racer kicked off this weekend's double-header meeting in style, capturing his third pole position of the year and Sierra Sierra Enterprises' fourth front-row shut-out with James accompanied at the head of the pack by his Brazilian team-mate and series points leader Raphael Matos. Hinch's pole winning time of 1m06.356s (107.041mph) was almost two tenths of a second faster than Matos' best and placed him P1 in qualifying for the first time since he swept to two-straight poles in Portland last month.

In stark contrast to Round 8 in Toronto two weeks earlier, the 1.973-mile Edmonton track was bathed in brilliant sunshine and the forecast looked good for James as he got the drop on his team-mate to lead the field to the first turn in the #9 NOCO/ProWorks Swift-Mazda Cosworth. An early full-course caution failed to disrupt James' charge at the front and he coolly held on to his lead at the re-start only for a second caution period to follow just a handful of passes later on lap 10.

James put pedal to the metal on the second re-start but it was Matos who dived up the inside into the first turn to steal the lead from his team-mate and before long France's Franck Perera, winner of the previous two races, demoted the Canadian to third. The top-three remained static through to the checkered at the end of lap 34 -- James comfortably fending off some late-race pressure from Robert Wickens to add to his podium tally and claim third outright in the Driver Standings having been tied with the rookie heading into the weekend.

"The car was certainly good enough to win today but the no-blocking rule means you're basically a sitting duck at the re-starts," Hinchcliffe reflected. "I survived the first re-start but Matos wasn't going to fall for the same trick twice and he got by me. Perera got by me as well but after that no-one made any gains, we were all stuck together. If there had been another caution period we might have been able to pass back up but it didn't happen!"

Round 10 in Edmonton starts tomorrow, Sunday 22nd July, at 12:30pm EST.

Both races from the weekend will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Monday 23rd July starting at 5pm EST.

-credit: www.hinchtown.com

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Robert Wickens , James Hinchcliffe , Franck Perera