TORONTO, Ont., Canada (July 10, 2003) - Six races are complete but six races still remain before the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship is decided. With that in mind, Dorricott Racing's Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, and Kyle Krisiloff, of...
TORONTO, Ont., Canada (July 10, 2003) - Six races are complete but six races still remain before the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship is decided. With that in mind, Dorricott Racing's Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, and Kyle Krisiloff, of Indianapolis, Ind., will be in Toronto at the Molson Indy Toronto seeking to jump-start their season for a down-to-the-wire title chase.
The 35-lap (61.425 mile) Atlantic race around the 1.755-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit of Toronto's Exhibition Place will be round seven of the 12-race series and is scheduled to begin this Saturday, July 12, at 4:00 p.m. ET. It will mark the 13th time since 1990 the Atlantic series has competed at Toronto, and is the featured support race for Sunday's CART Championship Molson Indy Toronto. Atlantic did not run in Toronto in 1999.
Dorricott Racing is seeking to find a more fair and equitable result this year than it endured last year. The 2002 race was essentially decided on an early race re-start. Atlantic champion Jon Fogarty started on the pole. Alex Gurney was on the outside pole. Diaz started fourth.
Two yellow flags slowed the early portion of the event. This, however, set the stage for the one of the most controversial incidents in recent Toyota Atlantic history. On the lap six restart, Canadian Michael Valiante, who was in third place at the time, charged to the inside of Gurney and Fogarty heading into Turn 1. Valiante ducked low nearly striking the wall before completing a clearly illegal pass of Fogarty and Gurney. Regardless, Fogarty battled Valiante down the long straight heading into Turn 3. As the pair jockeyed for position, the field became compressed. Diaz was most affected and was unable to avoid tire-to-tire contact with the rear of Fogarty's car due to Valiante's irregular positioning. Diaz went airborne into the tire wall. The incident eliminated both of the Dorricott cars from the race. Gurney was not directly affected but finished fifth place.
Valiante, meanwhile, continued unchallenged for the next 29 laps to win the race over fellow countryman, Jonathan Macri, of Gormley, Ontario, by 0.909-seconds. The Canadian sweep of the top two spots may have thrilled a partisan audience, but that audience was unaware that Valiante's race winning maneuver was actually an illegal pass as determined by series officials nearly five hours after the race had ended.
Diaz is looking to overcome a nightmarish season start where he has been victimized on five occasions ranging from driver error of others to a blown motor. He suffer back-to-back disappointments at Monterrey, Mexico, and Long Beach when other drivers literally were responsible for him being unable to either finish the race or mount a challenge to win.
Last weekend, a fractured tub forced him to abandon starting eighth at Cleveland and relegated him to the rear of the 14-car field. Nonetheless, Diaz was passing cars on the first lap and moved into sixth place with six laps remaining. He had just completed his fastest lap of the race and seventh fastest overall race lap around Cleveland's 10-turn, 2.106-mile circuit when he closed on Stephan C. Roy, of Canada. Roy lost control of his car and slammed against an outside wall. Diaz was unable to negotiate around Roy's carnage and rammed into the wall too. Diaz's left front tire, wheel, suspension, and left front part of the chassis were destroyed albeit he was able to limp back to pit lane.
Krisiloff has been showing signs of front-running capabilities but has faced subtle obstacles that have led to finishes short of where he thought they would end. At Cleveland, Krisiloff nearly went airborne in the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One Swift on the front straight-away with two minutes remaining in a pre-race warm-up. The cause of his off-track flight was never determined but Krisloff's car landed hard and square before going off the track and across the grass in front of pit lane. He came to a sliding stop after only striking a television cable that was strung along the grass. The resulting damage from the off-road detour, however, "totaled" his car's undertray. This required his crew to undergo a near complete overhaul within three hours of the race. They completed repairs with literally minutes to spare before all cars had to be on the starting grid. Regardless, a smart and solid race at Cleveland resulted in a 7th place finish after starting 11th. Krisiloff joined Dorricott Racing at Milwaukee where he earned an Atlantic career best second-place finish.
Dorricott Racing has had past success at Toronto when it dominated the Dayton Indy Lights Championship. In the 2001 Indy Lights race, current Formula 3000 driver and former Dorricott Racing star, Townsend Bell, literally "swept" through the downtown street circuit to claim his third victory Indy Lights win in 2001.
Bell's teammates, Damien Faulkner, of Moville, Ireland, and Geoff Boss, of Narragansett, R.I., also had outstanding finishes in 2001. Faulkner finished third and Boss scored sixth place as a substitute for Fogarty, who was sidelined with a neck injury that year.
Speed Channel will provide a same-day, one-half hour delayed telecast of the Toyota Atlantic Championship from Toronto beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET (1:30 p.m. PT), Saturday, July 12. Check http://www.toyotaatlantic.com for updated series information.