Mayhem in Toronto for Forsythe Atlantic Squad TORONTO, Canada - July 9, 2006 - Chaos on the first lap of today's Champ Car Atlantic event on the streets of Toronto saw incidents that ultimately led to a big shuffle in the championship points...
Mayhem in Toronto for Forsythe Atlantic Squad
TORONTO, Canada - July 9, 2006 - Chaos on the first lap of today's Champ Car Atlantic event on the streets of Toronto saw incidents that ultimately led to a big shuffle in the championship points as season-long leader Andreas Wirth of the Forsythe Atlantic Team fell from third on the start to 16h at the end and dropped to second in the standings. James Hinchcliffe had the best team result as he moved from ninth on the grid to finish sixth, while Leo Maia moved up from 12th to 10th. Richard Philippe encountered gearbox trouble related to the first lap mayhem and finished 18th on the day.
At the first turn, several cars came together with Wirth, Maia and Philippe all left with no place to go. Hinchcliffe squeezed through into fourth, but Wirth was hit by another car and suffered front suspension damage. Maia was momentarily balked and had to wait on traffic to clear while Philippe was forced to a stop and damaged his gearbox while engaging reverse gear, forcing his retirement a few laps later. At Turn 3 on the first lap leaders Rafael Matos and Graham Rahal touched, forcing both Hinchcliffe and Maia to the outside where they had to maneuver around the stopped cars and lost several positions. Wirth pitted for long repairs losing several laps, then returned to the track with an ill-handling car but heroically logged laps and collected a few valuable championship points.
Andreas Wirth #37 INDECK/Layer 7/Wirth Solar Mazda-Cosworth/Yokohama/Swift
Second in Points with 144
"What can I say? I didn't get off the line very well and when I got to the first turn I had to slow for spinning cars. I got punched in the side and it flattened the tire and bent the suspension so I had to limp around the track and pit. The team did a great job patching the car back together but I lost a lot of laps. I went back out and could barely drive the car in a straight line, but after we knew I had moved up as far as possible past other cars that had dropped out I came back into the pits and that was it. The only good thing about the day was that some of the top contenders also had problems but it was enough for me to lose the points lead for the first time this season."
James Hinchcliffe #3 Emexis/INDECK Mazda-Cosworth/Yokohama/Swift
Fifth in Points with 110
"Crazy, crazy race. I managed to stay to the inside in the first turn and was right up with the leaders, but when Matos and Rahal spun I was trapped on the outside and just had to wait. Later I was running behind (Simon) Pagenaud and got myself into a bit of a bad spot and let a couple of cars by. I got back past one of them but couldn't improve past sixth. I guess considering how wild it was out there today sixth isn't too bad! And I moved up in the point standings, so I guess I can be happy with that. But the team was great all weekend and my hometown crowd was so incredibly supportive to me throughout the weekend I can't thank them enough."
Leonardo Maia #7 Layer 7/INDECK Mazda-Cosworth/Yokohama/Swift
Seventh in Points with 97
"It's pretty frustrating when you get a good start but get caught in somebody else's incidents twice on the first lap! I was running well early but the car started going away a bit as the race went on and a couple of cars got past me. But I know this team is going to bounce back and it's going to be better in Edmonton. We had a good weekend on the airport circuit at Cleveland two weeks ago and Edmonton is an airport track, so hopefully we'll come off the transporters with good cars there and have the kind of weekend this team deserves."
Richard Philippe #33 INDECK/Layer 7 Mazda-Cosworth/Yokohama/Swift
15th in Points with 45
"It's pretty frustrating to run so well in Cleveland and then come here and struggle. I got a good start and had a chance to improve but when I got to the first turn it was like a parking lot! I tried to spin around but had to try and find reverse instead and damaged something in the gearbox. I tried to continue but the shifting got worse and worse and finally I had only fifth gear. I'm looking forward to Edmonton though since I did well in Cleveland and we should have a good setup for that track. Thanks to all my guys and I'll be looking to bring us another podium."