TORONTO (July 14, 2001) -- Make it two for two for the home country drivers in Canada. Vancouver's David Rutledge (Lynx Racing Swift) won from the pole in his home country for the second time this season and in the process, took over the CART ...
TORONTO (July 14, 2001) -- Make it two for two for the home country drivers in Canada. Vancouver's David Rutledge (Lynx Racing Swift) won from the pole in his home country for the second time this season and in the process, took over the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship points standings. Rutledge also won in Montreal earlier this season.
After winning this third $1,000 "Toyota Pole Award" of the season (fourth of his career) on Saturday, Rutledge led every turn of the 35-lap event in Toronto to take a four point lead over Brazil's Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift), who finished 3.697 seconds behind Rutledge in second place. Rutledge now leads with a total of 94 points with Orsi close behind with 90 points.
This was Rutledge's fourth career win, all coming from the pole and all coming on road courses. Rutledge won twice in Montreal in 2000 and 2001 and claimed the top spot at the season opening race at Long Beach earlier this year. Rutledge also has led every lap during his four victories.
"I found it best today to challenge the track and keep up a good race pace," said Rutledge, who is third straight Canadian driver to win in Toronto. "Hoover (Orsi) really pushed me on the re-starts, but the Lynx team gave me a great car and it was our day. I wouldn't say it was easy because a lot of work goes into making it look easy, but there was no major drama and the win feels appropriate. The team is running like a well-oiled machine, like my race car, in fact. We'll be working night and day to keep things going along just like this." Alex Tagliani won here in 1998 followed with Andrew Bordin taking victory here last year.
Orsi, who started on the outside of the front row, stayed behind Rutledge the entire race. Orsi was never challenged for the second place position. "I had a good car," said Orsi. "We played catch-up the whole race. We were looking for two or three tenths, but my car had some oversteer at the beginning. We finished second and that is good for points. Let's hope I can do better in Chicago." Orsi has finished first or second in five of the season's first six races. A broken gearbox in Montreal was the only time he did not finish in the top two.
Grant Ryley (Worldspeed Motorsports/Northwest Speedwerx Swift) charged from his 10th place starting position to take the final spot on podium. Ryley, who is competing in his first year in the Atlantic Championship, won a pole earlier in the season at Milwaukee, where he continued on to finish second behind Orsi. This is also Worldspeed Motorsports best finish on a road course dating back to 1999 when Nicolas Rondet placed third at Trois-Rivieres.
"Today feels really good," said Ryley. "It has been a tough season for us so far and this is what we've been working for. We started tenth, and I actually touched the wall on the first restart and came back to finish third. There were a few incidents in front of us that worked to our advantage, but we also had a great car. Hopefully, we can keep this momentum up for the oval in Chicago."
Ryley was able to take over the third spot after Martin Basso (Michael Shank Racing/3b Engine Valves Swift) and Michael Valiante (Lynx Racing/Copart Auto Auctions Italian Motors Swift) made contact at the exit of turn three while fighting for third place. Valiante sustained damage to the rear wing of his car dropping him to sixth place. Basso only lost his spot to Ryley and went on to set the fastest race lap in his pursuit of the California rookie on the 33rd trip around the 1.755-mile road course, winning the $1,000 WorldCom "Fast Pace" award with a time of 1:07.059 seconds (94.216 mph). The time broke the one year old record held by Buddy Rice at 1:07.521 seconds (93.571 mph).
Joey Hand (DSTP Motorsports/BG Products Swift) finished fifth, keeping the lead in the Rookie of the Year points championship. Hand leads the rookies with a total of 45 points trailed by Grant Ryley in second place with 38 points.
Tony Ave (P-1 Racing/Miller Genuine Draft Swift) failed to land any in points for the second race in a row, but held onto third place in the championship. Ave sustained a flat tire early in the race and had to pit, loosing a lap to the leaders eventually finishing 14th. Argentina's Martin Basso closed up the points gap on Ave with his fourth place finish. Ave stands at 53 points with Basso just two points behind at 51. Hand's 45 points is good for fifth in the standings overall.
The session saw two yellow flag periods with the first coming on lap 10 when Rocky Moran Jr. (Cobb Racing Swift), in his first race with his new team, made contact with the turn 11 wall. Moran pulled the car off track at the exit of the pits and got out of the car under his own power, retiring from the event. The second yellow flew six laps later on lap 16 with Stephan C. Roy (P-1 Racing/Playstation 2 Momo Swift) spun at the exit of turn 1. Roy was able to continue but not until he lost a lap while the Simple Green CART Safety Team assisted Roy in getting the car pointed in the right direction.
Round 7 of the 12 event CART Toyota Atlantic Championship will be held in two weeks as part of the Target Grand Prix at the Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero, Illinois.
ESPN2 and ESPN International will broadcast Saturday's Round 6 race from Toronto on Sunday, July 22, at 10:00 a.m. ET, while Atlantic fans in Canada can watch the race on CTV SportsNet Live! CTV repeat dates are: EAST, Tuesday, July 17, 2:00 p.m., ONTARIO, Friday, July 20, 2:00 p.m., PACIFIC, Sunday, July 15, 5:00 p.m., and WEST, Tuesday July 24, 3:00 p.m. ESPN2 will replay the race on Thursday, August 2, at 4:00 a.m. ET.