Hinchcliffe Set for Mont-Tremblant Debut Toronto, Canada -- The second half of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda kicks off at Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, Friday 29th June -- Sunday 1st...
Hinchcliffe Set for Mont-Tremblant Debut
Toronto, Canada -- The second half of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda kicks off at Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, Friday 29th June -- Sunday 1st July, with James Hinchcliffe hoping to celebrate Canada Day from the top step of the podium as the series begins a streak of four straight races on home soil for the Canadian.
While the switch of venue from Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal to the 2.65-mile Circuit Mont-Tremblant in St. Jovite, creates a level playing field for this weekend's Atlantic competition -- the track having last hosted an Atlantic event back in 1976, Hinchcliffe will be hoping the turn of speed he enjoyed last season in Quebec holds out as he looks to close the 30 point deficit to his Sierra Sierra Enterprises team-mate and current series leader, Brazil's Raphael Matos.
Hinchcliffe captured the pole in last year's penultimate round in Quebec, hosted at the famed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve -- home of the Canadian Grand Prix and a popular Champ Car World Series venue from 2002-2006. Competing as a rookie for Forsythe Racing, James went on to finish third in the race behind Champ Car graduates Graham Rahal and Simon Pagenaud.
The 20-year-old from Toronto heads back to Canada this season as part of the dominant Sierra Sierra Enterprises squad, Matos and Hinchcliffe sitting 1-2 in the points standings (173-143). Last weekend's Cleveland outing saw 'Hinch' tab his fifth front-row start in six races but a lap one incident punted him to the rear of the 26-strong field. While Matos successfully converted his third pole of the season into his fourth victory, James undoubtedly put in the performance of the day slicing his way through the field from last place to take sixth at the checkered in the #9 NOCO/ProWorks Swift Mazda-Cosworth. As damage limitation exercises go, Hinchcliffe's masterful drive, which included setting fastest lap of the race, kept him locked firmly in the title fight heading into the second half of the season.
"Despite being a Canadian I've never driven at the Mont-Tremblant circuit before," stated Hinchcliffe heading to Quebec. "From what I've heard it's a fast, flowing race track and I'm really looking forward to getting a chance to race there this weekend. It's similar to Mosport apparently with some fast corners and elevation changes so I'm hoping that's the case as I've always run well there and that kind of track suits my style. It would have been nice to have gone back to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as I've got plenty of experience racing there but at the same time Mont-Tremblant's a bit of a hidden gem, rich in Canadian motorsport history, so I'm excited to be trying something new!"
On his title bid James reflected, "I'm a little bit further behind in the points than I'd have liked but when you look at weekends like Long Beach and Cleveland, I'm doing okay. There's plenty of opportunity for good and bad luck to strike Rafa and I and it might boil down to simply who makes the fewest mistakes. The competition's close though and we can't discount the talent directly behind us either!"
Round 7 starts at Circuit Mont-Tremblant at 11:30am EST on Sunday 1st July. The 50-minute race will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Friday 6th July starting at 6pm EST.