Forsythe Atlantic Season Ends With A Bang ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin - Sunday, September 24, 2006 - In an incident-filled Atlantic finale that saw both Championship contenders fall out early and two Forsythe drivers briefly lead the race, ...
Forsythe Atlantic Season Ends With A Bang
ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin - Sunday, September 24, 2006 - In an incident-filled Atlantic finale that saw both Championship contenders fall out early and two Forsythe drivers briefly lead the race, Andreas Wirth of Germany came home in third spot for his sixth podium finish of the season and secured third in the final Championship point standings. Wirth started fifth but moved to second as other cars fell out, then made a bold move around the outside of leader Raphael Matos to briefly take the lead before overshooting the braking zone and running wide at Turn 5, falling back to third.
Toronto native James Hinchcliffe, who qualified in fourth spot, had a great start and moved into P2 at Turn 1 and then took the lead at (appropriately) Canada Corner to lead several early laps. Hinchcliffe was passed by Simon Pagenaud exiting Turn 4 after a restart following a caution period but stayed in position to repass at the next corner. As Hinchcliffe drafted close and moved to the inside, Pagenaud blocked the line and Hinchcliffe, expecting him to move back to the racing line as required by the rules, collided with the back of the #15 car knocking both drivers out of the race.
Leonardo Maia, who suffered electrical and mechanical problems all weekend that relegated the talented American to 21st spot on the grid, had contact with another car early and had to pit for repairs but charged back through the field to eventually finish a hard-earned 12th. French youngster Richard Philippe, with perhaps the worst luck of any driver in the series this season, saw his streak continue as qualified a strong seventh but was taken out by a swerving Jonathan Bomarito approaching Turn 1 at the start of the race.
"I had terrible understeer and could never get the tires heated properly due to all the caution periods, but I'm happy to finish the season on the podium. My guys have worked so hard all year, so it feels good to give them another strong result. It's been a good season overall and given the level of competition this year I wouldn't say I'm totally satisfied but it's still a nice achievement for the team."
"The car was fantastic. I had a great start and got into the lead pretty easily on Lap 3, but then when we had that last caution period both Matos and Pagenaud were able to draft past on the restart. I immediately got back on Pagenaud's gearbox but he blocked me all the way down into Turn 5. He juked just a little like he was going to go back to the racing line like he's supposed to, and I thought it was going to be a good chance to make the pass, but he stayed on the left and I just ran into the back of him. It's been an up and down season but I was very happy to get my first Atlantic win and Pole (at Portland and Montreal, respectively) so thanks to all the guys for their hard work!"
"I went to pass a slower car early in the race and he turned in on me. It damaged my suspension and I had to pit for repairs. The guys did a great job and got me back out and I just plugged away and was able to move up. We all wanted to end the season on a high note but it was just an awful weekend for us and I barely ran any laps. But it wasn't for lack of effort on the part of the team, and I just want to let them know how much I appreciate their hard work this year."
"I guess this has been what you would call one of those character-building seasons! Another good car, another good starting spot, and another DNF that I couldn't do anything about. I don't know what Bomarito was thinking; he swerved all the way across the track and just took me out. I think more than anybody I'm looking forward to next year because there's no way my luck can be this bad again! Thanks to Jerry Forsythe for giving me the chance and thanks to all the team for giving us great cars all year!"
-credit: forsythe racing