Hinchcliffe Fifth at Road America Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (August 10, 2008) -- James Hinchcliffe held onto his points lead at the top of the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championships Powered by Mazda Driver Standings following ...
Hinchcliffe Fifth at Road America
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (August 10, 2008) -- James Hinchcliffe held onto his points lead at the top of the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championships Powered by Mazda Driver Standings following a solid fifth place finish in Round 6 at Wisconsin's Road America circuit on Saturday, 9th August.
The Canadian holds a slim seven point advantage over Finland's Markus Niemela (139-132) heading into Sunday afternoon's second race meeting in Elkhart Lake, Round 7 playing out on the 4.08-mile permanent road course in the final double-header event on the 11-race Atlantic schedule.
Hinchcliffe was again one of the fastest runners in Friday's sixth round qualifying outing. The 21-year-old piloted the #3 INDECK/TireRack.com Forsythe Pettit Racing entry to the third fastest lap time, touring Road America in 1m59.871s (121.571mph) for an impressive fifth consecutive top-five grid slot. Pole position went to Genoa Racing's Dane Cameron, the reigning Star Mazda Champion firing in a hot lap of 1m59.190s (122.265mph) to claim his maiden series pole.
Saturday's 18-lap race saw James off to a good start, holding third before the yellows at Turn1 halted racing almost immediately. When racing resumed 'Hinch' was back on it maintaining his position behind Jonathan Bomarito and Dane Cameron in first and second respectively. All was good until mid-distance when the Canadian's car started to loose the lead draft and James found himself in the sights of his rivals behind. Tonis Kasemets passed for fourth and with two laps remaining Carl Skerlong ducked by to drop Hinchcliffe to fifth at the checkered.
Mathiasen Motorsport's Jonathan Bomarito claimed his second win of the season ahead of fellow Americans Dane Cameron and Tonis Kasemets. James' fifth place effort, his fifth straight top-five points finish of 2008, ensured he would keep the series lead but Bomarito's run of form moves him up into third just nine points back from the Toronto racer.
"While things started off well, my car was a little scary to drive from halfway through the race," Hinchcliffe reflected. "It was almost damage control from that point. It's tough to not be battling for the win but we've struggled a bit this weekend. We're going to turn things on their head for Sunday's race and hope for a better showing and a decent points haul."
Round 7 takes place later today, Sunday 10th August, at 2:30pm ET, with James lining up sixth on the grid. Posting a lap time of 2m00.355s (121.082mph), the Canadian ace claimed a sixth straight top-six qualifying slot while Saturday's Round 6 race winner, Jonathan Bomarito, secured his third career Atlantic pole with a leading time of 1m59.564s (121.883mph) -- www.roadamerica.com