Hinchcliffe Celebrates Canada Day with Mont-Tremblant Podium St. Jovite, Quebec (July 01, 2007) -- Toronto's James Hinchcliffe celebrated Canada Day by scoring a third place finish in Round 7 of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car ...
Hinchcliffe Celebrates Canada Day with Mont-Tremblant Podium
St. Jovite, Quebec (July 01, 2007) -- Toronto's James Hinchcliffe celebrated Canada Day by scoring a third place finish in Round 7 of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda at the picturesque Circuit Mont-Tremblant in St. Jovite, Quebec.
While the 34-lap race on the 2.65-mile road course proved to be a processional affair for the most part, Hinchcliffe darted past Italy's Giacomo Ricci on the final lap to take his fourth podium finish in his last five race starts, the 20-year-old maintaining his second place in the Driver Standings behind Brazil's Raphael Matos (201-168) heading to his hometown next weekend with Round 8 hosted at the 'Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto'.
The second half of the 2007 season kicked off on Friday with first qualifying and Hinchcliffe again showed why he's a threat to his Sierra Sierra Enterprises team-mate and points leader, Matos, by keeping the Brazilian firmly in his sights, the duo finishing 1-3 for the session with America's Jonathan Bomarito splitting the order. Saturday's second qualifying session was a more tumultuous outing with rain showers disrupting proceedings, timing on-track proving crucial for the 24 car line-up.
In the end it was France's Franck Perera who claimed his first pole of the season in the #11 Condor Motorsports entry with James starting Sunday's race in the #9 NOCO/ProWorks entry from fifth on the grid, the Canadian racer's sixth top-five start of the year.
As the start lights flicked from red to green Hinchcliffe passed fellow Canadian Robert Wickens to take fourth on the charge to the first turn. With passing virtually impossible on the sweeping circuit and with just one solitary full course caution period coming early in the race, the following action on-track was limited to say the least. Hinchcliffe was rarely less than a second behind Ricci in third while Bomarito remained ever-present tailing in fifth. As Wickens lapped in sixth, the four-car pack formed a formidable train out to close the gap to front-row starters Perera and Matos ahead.
While the pace was flat-out the running order remained static until the dying stages of the race. Half-way through the last lap James closed on the slowing car of Ricci up ahead in third. Heading through turns seven and eight the Italian made his Canadian rival work for the position but James took third and began closing in rapidly on his team-mate in second as they sprinted towards the checkered flag. A faultless performance from Franck Perera was rewarded with his first win of the season while Sierra Sierra Enterprises celebrated a 2-3 finish with Matos just holding second and Hinchcliffe third.
"Well it was an exciting start and an exciting finish but that was about it," James commented. "It was good to get another podium finish and a great way to start the Canadian races, hopefully we can carry our momentum to Toronto next week. Franck (Perera) was simply the class of the field today!"