Hinchcliffe Enjoys Points Lead Heading Home Toronto, Canada (June 23, 2008) -- Canada's James Hinchcliffe returns to compete on home soil for the first time this season holding the points lead of the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The ...
Hinchcliffe Enjoys Points Lead Heading Home
Toronto, Canada (June 23, 2008) -- Canada's James Hinchcliffe returns to compete on home soil for the first time this season holding the points lead of the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda as Quebec's Circuit Mont-Tremblant hosts Round 3 of the 11-race series this weekend, Friday 27th -- Sunday 29th June.
The 21-year-old Oakville racer dominated last month's second round at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California, powering the Forsythe Pettit Racing #3 INDECK/TireRack.com Swift Mazda-Cosworth to victory having blitzed the timesheets and set a new series track record along the way. Hinchcliffe's second career Atlantic victory launched the talented Canadian into the series lead ahead of Round 1 winner, Switzerland's Simona De Silvestro (44-42).
James enjoyed a solid debut at the 2.65-mile Circuit Mont-Tremblant last season where he scored a third place podium finish on Canada Day. It marked his fourth top-three finish in seven starts in a year where he went on to finish fourth overall in the Driver Standings before being awarded the prestigious Gilles Villeneuve Trophy at the end of season banquet -- the award traditionally given to the driver who posses extraordinary ability, star quality and who has distinguished himself through sportsmanship, dedication and perseverance in the face of disappointment.
The six week gap in the schedule between Laguna Seca and Tremblant failed to slow James down off-track. In addition to focusing on his intensive fitness regime, the Ontario-native took time out to attend the Indy 500 for the first time at the end of May before heading back across the border for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal where he worked as a co-commentator alongside Ben Edwards for the European-based 'F1 in Cinemas' broadcast -- 'Hinch' already an experienced broadcaster thanks to his spells behind the microphone commentating on Champ Car events for Eurosport last season.
"We've had a really long break between events so I'm just ecstatic to be getting back behind the wheel," exclaimed Hinchcliffe. "The fact that our first race back is in my home country and at one of the nicest race tracks in North America I think is really an extra bonus for everyone racing in the series. Last year I had a pretty decent result at Tremblant with third place but to be honest I never felt like we really had the car where I needed it to be. I'm really hoping that this year I'll have a stronger car from the off.
"Hopefully Friday's extra practice time will allow us to get our heads around everything before Saturday's qualifying runs. This is only my second event working with Mike (Palowski), my engineer, so we're still learning about each other and what we like to get out of the car as a team. The extra track time on Friday I'm sure will prove valuable to us. Obviously I'm hoping I can leave Tremblant with another victory and give the home crowd something to enjoy and extend my championship lead some more!"
Round 3 of the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda gets underway at Circuit Mont-Tremblant at 1pm (EST), Sunday 29th June 2008 -- www.lecircuit.com
Top Five Atlantic Drivers -- R2/11: 1st HINCHCLIFFE (CAN) 44pts, 2nd De Silvestro (SUI) 42pts, 3rd Summerton (USA) 42pts, 4th Strous (NED) 41pts, 5th Niemela (FIN) 40pts -- www.atlantic-championship.com