Persistence Pays Off in Portland for Andreas Wirth Portland, Oregon -- June 18, 2006 -- Determined to redeem himself and solidify his Championship points-lead after a less than stellar result in Monterrey Mexico, Andreas arrived in Portland ...
Persistence Pays Off in Portland for Andreas Wirth
Portland, Oregon -- June 18, 2006 -- Determined to redeem himself and solidify his Championship points-lead after a less than stellar result in Monterrey Mexico, Andreas arrived in Portland confident that this was the place to do it. Unfortunately, his luck seemed to be going from bad to worse as his weekend started with less than promising results.
After two tough qualifying efforts filled with rain, red flags and traffic, Wirth qualified a career-worst twelfth for the Trinity Carpet 100 at Portland International Raceway.
"I was very frustrated. I couldn't feel the car at all; it was like there was something major wrong. We struggled a bit with set up, be we definitely headed in the right direction in the warm-up session at the end of the day. We were lost on Friday, but then got better by the end of Saturday, so we felt we would be good for the race."
Despite his poor qualifying results Andreas was convinced that his luck would return since Portland had been kind to him in his rookie season of 2005, where he earned his first series pole and scored the first podium results of his career in the Portland double-header (3rd in race one and 2nd in race two).
Hope was more convincingly restored on lap one as the front row starters made contact in the Festival Curves, taking them out of contention for the race, and diminishing the threat on Andreas' championship points-lead (the front row starters had been sitting 2nd and 3rd in the championship points standing). With some of the pressure lifted, Wirth whittled away at the pack with commanding style, ultimately resulting in a third-place podium finish. Truly an impressive run!
"It was like a win today! Coming from 12th on the grid you never expect a podium! I was in the middle of the pack in the Festival Curves and I wanted to go around the outside on the start, but I got hit in the rear. I thought I heard something wrong with the car and I really thought I was in trouble when I lost a couple of positions. It must have been something on the tire that went away after a few laps, because after that the car was just great! The problems we had in qualifying went away and the car really improved! I don't think I had the fastest car out there, but it was consistent. I just tried to be smooth, and I could push hard right from beginning to end, so it was really good - I just picked them off one at a time. It was great racing - especially since we had so much frustration in qualifying. I'm happy we came back after Monterrey - the race turned out great! Congratulations to my team and my team-mates, great job!"
After some tough challenges and disappointments Andreas can be proud of his accomplishments - three podium finishes in the first four rounds of 2006 -- a total of 10 visits to victory circle in his 14 career starts in the Atlantic Series. Looking with eager anticipation to next weekend's double-header, Andreas hopes to duplicate the success he enjoyed last season with two podium visits in Cleveland. Going into the fifth round of competition, Andreas enjoys a 24-point lead in the Championship points.
The Trinity Carpet 100k Atlantic race at the G.I. Joe's Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland will be broadcast on SPEED Channel Saturday June 24 at 4pm ET and re-aired Wednesday June 28 at 3pm ET.
Rounds 5 and 6 of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship take place June 24th and 25th on the runways of Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, where standing starts will be used for the first time since 1997 in the Atlantic Series.
-Andreas Wirth Racing