Another Podium for Wirth Through the first six rounds of competition this season, the Atlantic ride has been a wild one. What remains to be seen is how many more twists and turns the drivers and teams that comprise North America's top open-wheel...
Another Podium for Wirth
Through the first six rounds of competition this season, the Atlantic ride has been a wild one. What remains to be seen is how many more twists and turns the drivers and teams that comprise North America's top open-wheel development series have in store for the second half of '05. The picture began to develop this weekend with Round 7 of the Atlantic championship - the Molson Indy Toronto Toyota Atlantic race on the 1.755-mile temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place.
Germany's Andreas Wirth started to find his groove at the perfect time in the Atlantic season. The 20-year-old rookie has carded four straight podium results and improved to fourth in the season standings with his recent run. Wirth was one of eight drivers in this weekend's Atlantic field who raced on the tight Toronto circuit for the first time.
After a strong free practice session almost leading the whole 30 minutes Wirth ended up 3rd. "The track is great though it is still a little slippery. As for the car, there is a lot of room for improvement so I am fairly happy with a third place at the end of the first practice session", Wirth quoted after the session.
After starting off strong, battling Bessette for the lead of the Atlantic free practice session, Wirth completed the top five from the opening-round of 1st qualifying with a time of 1:08.243. "I can say that it was my mistake when I couldn't do better than fifth position. I thought that, qualifying after the Champ Car session, the track would be more grippy but I was wrong and I pushed too hard and overdrove the car a little bit. But I learned from it and will improve my driving."
Andreas continued his solid weekend in his first Toronto racing experience. The German rookie has now qualified among the top five in all events this season as he posted the third-fastest lap in 2nd qualifying session at 1:07.728 which was a fourth overall starting position for the race event. First-year Brooks Associates Racing driver Wirth wound up third-quickest in the Warm Up session Sunday morning when he turned a 1:08.724.
Starting from fourth position on Sunday, Germany's Wirth ran another strong race as he came home in third place. The finish was the 20-year-old rookie's fifth straight podium this season as he also continues to be a factor in the series championship chase.
Andreas Wirth: "I had a great race. Five podiums in the row, it is really good. I want to thank my team for their hard work. They did a really good job in the last races. I struggled a little bit at the beginning of this race and then I made a mistake at the restart. I chose the outside line and it turned out it was not the right one. At the end I was very strong and the car was very fast so I wish the race was a little bit longer. I like the track. It is really tricky. I think I could have finished better than third but I am still happy. It is good for the championship."
The next race event will be held on the 15th - 17th of July in Edmonton, Canada.