Hinchcliffe's Edmonton Form Key to Title Ambitions Toronto, Ontario (July 21, 2008) -- The 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda remains north of the border for Rounds 4 and 5 this weekend with Toronto's James...
Hinchcliffe's Edmonton Form Key to Title Ambitions
Toronto, Ontario (July 21, 2008) -- The 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda remains north of the border for Rounds 4 and 5 this weekend with Toronto's James Hinchcliffe hoping for a strong showing as he tackles Edmonton's 1.973-mile City Centre Airport layout, Friday 25th -- Saturday 26th July.
The open-wheel racing series, now in its 35th season, crossed the border last month for the first of four Canadian-based races in this year's 11-race schedule, with a visit to Quebec's Circuit Mont-Tremblant just north of Montreal preceding the Edmonton weekend followed by a return to Quebec later in August to the historic Trois Rivieres street course. Hinchcliffe, driving for Forsythe Pettit Racing, piloted his #3 INDECK/TireRack.com Swift Mazda-Cosworth to a fourth place finish at Tremblant to hold second in the points battle heading west for this weekend's double-header meeting.
The 21-year-old sits just seven points shy of Dutchman Junior Strous, the victor at Mont-Tremblant, but 'Hinch' has every reason to be confident on his native soil following a victory in Round 2 in May and pair of top-ten's in last season's Edmonton outing. Collecting his third pole position of his sophomore campaign, James captured his fifth podium finish of 2007 with a third place effort in Round 9 on the sweeping temporary road course. While a qualifying penalty for the second of the weekend's races immediately handicapped Hinchcliffe's hopes of a repeat podium, the Canadian forced to line up 15th on the grid, he cracked the top-ten early in the race before claiming the checkered tenth overall.
The 'Rexall Edmonton Indy' sees the Atlantic Championship support the unified Indy Racing League for its sole stop in Canada in 2008, the Edmonton track having previously hosted three highly successful Champ Car World Series events.
"I'm certainly looking forward to getting back out in Edmonton," declared Hinchcliffe. "It's our biggest meeting on this year's schedule -- period. It's obviously going to be a pretty huge event running with the Indy Racing League. As a Canadian it's always great to race on home soil but as it's a double-header weekend in Edmonton it's really a bonus. I've always liked the City Centre Airport track. I was super impressed with it when I first raced there in 2006; it's amazing what they've been able to do with a pair of runways and they have some of the best fans in the business turn-up!"
"We didn't necessarily have the best of weekend's last time out at Circuit Mont-Tremblant with my fourth place finish. That's something we have to address as soon as we hit the track as we can't be happy with that kind of result if we're to maintain our push for the championship. With two races it's going to be an important weekend so we have to be quick out of the box. Edmonton's an incredibly fast and physical circuit but I enjoy that and again, I've been preparing myself for the challenge of this particular track and hope to emulate some of last season's form in Alberta!"