Scuadra Fortia ninth at Monterry Atlantic opener. MONTERRY, MEXICO (March 23, 2003) - San Diego based Scuadra Fortia finished ninth and 14th in this weekend's CART Toyota Atlantic Championship in the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix. Eduardo...
Scuadra Fortia ninth at Monterry Atlantic opener.
MONTERRY, MEXICO (March 23, 2003) - San Diego based Scuadra Fortia finished ninth and 14th in this weekend's CART Toyota Atlantic Championship in the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix. Eduardo Figueroa of Mexico City joined teammate Romain Dumas from Ales, France at Fundidora Park in the season opener.
Round one of 12 races was held on the 2.1 mile street course. Figueroa, in his second year of Atlantic competition, started 14th in the Grupo Gigante entry. Dumas, making his Toyota Atlantic debut, started 11th in the Jorge Arana/Aviasca/Millenio entry. The start of the race was delayed when another competitor hit Dumas on the warm up lap. Dumas was able to continue but the other car was damaged and was unable to race.
The 16 car field took the green flag on the 12 turn race track. Figueroa moved up from 14th to 11th at the start of the 32-lap event. Dumas, classified as a rookie, moved through the field and by lap 12 was in seventh place. The competition was tight with the field racing close together. Dumas finished ninth, one of ten cars on the lead lap. Figueroa's day ended on lap 15 with a mechanical problem when the shift cable mount broke, forcing him off the track. The Grupo Gigante driver finished 14th.
"We struggled all weekend with the setup on both cars," said Figueroa. "We thought we had a strong base when we came to Monterrey, but the car was difficult to drive from the start. We made a lot of changes over the weekend with shocks, springs and everything we could, trying to adapt. We had a good warm up and thought the set up was better than in qualifying. It was not perfect but we thought we had a top-ten car. I had problems with the shift lever on lap ten and the mount broke four laps later. It was a disappointing weekend for the team. Scuadra Fortia worked hard over the winter with testing and preparations. We are determined and will continue to push forward and work hard. This weekend makes me more determined to do well on the track and finish high in the field with the Grupo Gigante car."
"I was hit on the warm up lap when the driver behind me went up and over my rear tire, changing the balance of the car for the race," said Dumas. "The car was different after I was hit but appeared all right. I raced hard trying to move up. When I was in seventh, I made a mistake on one of the corners and was overtaken by two other cars. The racing was hard today. It was not an easy weekend."
Scuadra Fortia sponsors: Grupo Gigante, Aviacsa Airlines, Milenio Newspapers, Royse Graphics, BG Oils, Arai Helmets, Mechanix Wear. For more information on Scuadra Fortia go to http://www.scuadrafortia.com
Gigante has 270 stores and three billion in annual sales and is staking its claim north of the international border. It is a 40 year old company with over 35,000 employees. In addition to its stores in Mexico it operates four stores in the Los Angeles area and will open four more this year. Grupo Gigante also owns Office Depot in Mexico and Central America as well as Radio Shack in Mexico. Gigante (pronounced hee-gan-,tay) aims to become the most popular supermarket among California's 11 million Latinos, most of whom hail from Mexico and think of the stores as old friends. Having recently surpassed African Americans (12.7% of Americans) as the biggest minority group in the U.S., Latinos (13%) boast a collective disposable income of $450 billion a year, with much of that money going toward food. For more information on Gigante go to www.gigante.com.mx and www.giganteracing.com.
The next race in the CART Toyota Atlantic series is Round Two and will be held in the streets of Long Beach. The Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix is on Sunday, April 13, 2003. The race is on a 1.97-mile, temporary street course and will air at 1:30 p.m. ET/live on the Speed Channel. Broadcast times are subject to change, please check local listings.
CART Toyota Atlantic Championship remains unparalleled in its rich 30-year history of providing one of the most recognized stepping stones to a career in international motorsports competition. Series information can be found at www.toyotaatlantic.com.