Toronto Hat Trick Lynx Racing driver David Rutledge, 23, of Vancouver, B.C. scored something of a hat trick with his third from-the-pole victory of the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic season on the tricky Exhibition Place street course at the Molson...
Toronto Hat Trick
Lynx Racing driver David Rutledge, 23, of Vancouver, B.C. scored something of a hat trick with his third from-the-pole victory of the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic season on the tricky Exhibition Place street course at the Molson Indy Toronto. He also became the third Lynx driver to win the Atlantic race at Toronto, including Patrick Carpentier in 1996 and Memo Gidley in 1997.
Rutledge smashed the existing lap record by 4/10ths of a second to take the pole, led all 35 laps around the 1.755-mile course and finished 3.697 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Hoover Orsi.
Rutledge started off the season with a win from the pole through the streets of Long Beach, and dominated the Atlantic race in front of the Formula One crowd at Montreal. This brings to four his number of career Atlantic victories (he won from the pole at Montreal last year), and moves him into the lead of the championship points battle with 94. Brazilian Hoover Orsi is in second with 90 points.
"I found it best today to challenge the track and keep up a good race pace," said Rutledge, who is the third straight Canadian driver to win in Toronto. "Hoover (Orsi) really pushed me on the re-starts, but the Lynx team gave me a great car and it was our day. I wouldn't say it was easy because a lot of work goes into making it look easy, but there was no major drama and the win feels appropriate."
Rutledge's Atlantic teammate, Michael Valiante, 21, also of Vancouver, endured a more problematic but ultimately impressive weekend. Consigned to a handful of practice laps on a course he's never driven before by a transmission problem, Valiante qualified his #95 Lynx Racing / Italian Motors / Copart Auto Auctions Swift 008.a in seventh. During the race, he moved up to fourth and was challenging for a podium position when a coming-together with the third-place car launched him into the air. He tagged the wall with the rear end, damaging the all-important rear wing, but continued at a heated pace and was able to finish sixth.
"Toronto is an interesting technical challenge as a driver, and I think I was meeting that challenge when the car ahead put a wheel into me as I tried to pass," says Valiante. "It was a wild ride, but I managed to get it gathered back up and continue. I'd like to have finished better because my sponsor for this season bailed out on me and a good result might have helped me find a new source of funding to finish out the six races I was scheduled to drive. The Lynx team helped me out and let me race at Toronto, but I have only a short time to find a new sponsor or they're going to have to put somebody else in the car for the rest of the season. It's a young driver's worst nightmare, but hopefully the results I've achieved in just three races (fourth at Long Beach and second at Montreal) will give them reason to consider me for next year."
The Atlantic round of the Molson Indy Toronto was broadcast live on SportsNet in Canada, and will be shown in the U.S. on ESPN2, Sunday, July 22 at 10:00 -- 11:00 am EST.
The seventh round of the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship will be held on the 1.5-mile oval of the Chicago Motor Speedway during the Target Grand Prix of Chicago, July 25 - 27. <pre> Race results from Toronto
1) David Rutledge, No. 19 Lynx Racing, (35 Laps) 2) Hoover Orsi, No. 9 Hylton Motorsports, (-3.697sec) 3) Grant Ryley, No. 14 Worldspeed Motorsports, (-11.220) 4) Martin Basso, No. 5 Michael Shank Racing, (-11.841) 5) Joey Hand, No. 27 DSTP Motorsports, (-14.550) 6) Michael Valiante, No. 95 Lynx Racing, (-16.071) 7) T.J. Bell, No. 55 Cobb Racing, (-16.829) 8) Rodolfo Lavin, No. 11 Michael Shank Racing, (-17.493) 9) Jonathan Macri, No. 31 P-1 Racing, (-17.837) 10) Charles Hall, No. 3 Duesenberg Bros. Racing, (-20.893) 11) Christophe Beauvais, No. 8 BBGP Racing, (-37.659) 12) Case Montgomery No. 7 Condor Motorsports, (-50.300) 13) Franc Dancs, No. 6 Condor Motorsports, (-52.390) 14) Tony Ave, No. 20 P-1 Racing, (34 Laps) 15) Stephen Roy, No. 16 P-1 Racing, (34) 16) Sergei Szortyka, No. 77 J&J Racing, (34) 17) Bob Siska, No. 18 RJS Motorsports, (33) 18) Eric Jensen, No. 2 Jensen Motorsport, (18, Mechanical) 19) Rocky Moran Jr., No. 56 Cobb Racing, (6, Accident)