Dire Straits on the Streets of San Jose for Atlantic Championship Contender Andreas Wirth San Jose, California -- July 31, 2006 -- Having returned to the podium in Edmonton, it appeared that Wirth had shaken his run of bad luck as the Champ Car...
Dire Straits on the Streets of San Jose for Atlantic Championship Contender Andreas Wirth
San Jose, California -- July 31, 2006 -- Having returned to the podium in Edmonton, it appeared that Wirth had shaken his run of bad luck as the Champ Car Atlantic Series entered the final quarter of their season. Sadly, fortune faded once again as Wirth's fervour to recapture the Championship points-lead resulted in his losing grip on his second place points-standing in the Champ Car Atlantic Series.
As the weekend began, Andreas seemed hopeful that he could improve on his fifth place San Jose finish of 2005. Following Provisional Qualifying, Wirth had this to say of his fourth place effort, "I thought we had a good shot at Pole today, but when you have this many cars on a short, tight street course, it's always hard to find enough clear track to put a good lap together. We had a bit of understeer at the beginning, but we made some changes and that seemed to help. It's been really hot here this week and I think our tire pressures may have been too high near the end of the session today -- unfortunately there wasn't enough time to make any more changes. I feel good about it though; the times are really close at the top, so I think we've got a really good chance to improve on it tomorrow."
Final Qualifying on Saturday didn't provide the result Andreas was looking for, resulting in a seventh place spot on the starting grid. A disappointed Wirth explained, "We just couldn't find any grip out there today. The balance was all over the place and overall grip seemed to have disappeared since yesterday. It was really hard to find any balance in the car, but my guys managed to make some improvements that let me move up a few spots. This really wasn't the result we wanted to see today."
Realizing that a seventh place starting position on the narrow San Jose street circuit would provide more of a challenge and could prove to be as treacherous and fateful as his run in Toronto, Andreas was determined to get through the first few laps cleanly. Talent and street smarts managed to see the field of twenty-five Atlantic young-guns cleanly through turn one as the massive pack rushed from a standing start into the narrow Turn 1 hairpin. Despite the clean start and a smooth first lap, chaos broke out on lap two as Wirth went too deep into the Turn 1 braking zone and ended up in the run off.
Falling way back in the pack after failing to negotiate Turn 1 on his second lap, Wirth had a fight on his hands to make up valuable spots on track. Unfortunately, after working his way back up through almost half of the field, contact with another car sent the #37 Forsythe Racing entry to the pit for repairs. Frustration mounted as time ticked swiftly past, putting Wirth four laps down by the time repairs were completed, resulting in an eighteenth place finish.
The frustrated Forsythe driver made this comment on the race, "It's been a very frustrating day. I had a good start but I was getting blocked coming down the front straight. When I got beside him under braking I was on the dirty part of the track and couldn't make the corner. I had no choice and just had to go straight into the runoff. By the time I got turned around I was way back in the pack." Wirth continued, "I had a great car today and once I got back out there and in the groove again, I was picking cars off one at a time and managed to get up as high as twelfth. At that point I had contact with another car and had to come into the pit which is really disappointing."
With less than favourable results in San Jose, Andreas is eager to put it all behind him and get back to winning races! With good reason, Wirth looks to the next event in Denver with confidence as he prepares to make his final charge for the Championship Title. Commenting on his final outcome in San Jose and the next race, Wirth said, "Now we go to Denver -- that's where I won my first Atlantic race, so hopefully we can get back on the right track. Fortunately for me, all of the points-leaders had some trouble today, so we were lucky there. I'm still confident that we can fight for the Championship and I'm really looking forward to our next race." In conclusion, Andreas said, "I have to thank all of my guys, my Engineer and everyone at Forsythe Racing; they gave me a winning race car this weekend but I couldn't bring it home. I feel really bad about the way things turned out, but now I'm more determined than ever, and I know I have to work even harder to make it happen. I'm going to do everything I can to get back on top of the podium in Denver."
Eager to prove that he deserves the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship Title and the $2 million dollar purse, Andreas Wirth will be in hot pursuit of as many valuable points as possible in the final three events of the season. Going into the tenth round of competition, Andreas sits third in the overall Champ Car Atlantic Championship standings with 172 points, just 3 points behind second place and 30 points behind the Series leader.
-Andreas Wirth Racing