Orsi Completes Weekend Sweep Leads From Drop of the Green for Second Win a Row TROIS-RIVIERES, Qc., (August 5, 2001) -- With only four races left on the 2001 schedule, Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) is trying to stamp his name...
Orsi Completes Weekend Sweep
Leads From Drop of the Green for Second Win a Row
TROIS-RIVIERES, Qc., (August 5, 2001) -- With only four races left on the 2001 schedule, Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) is trying to stamp his name on the Championship trophy months before the season ending event at Laguna Seca. Orsi snatched the lead right from the start of the race and cruised on to a 1.849 seconds victory over Martin Basso (Michael Shank Racing/3b Engine Valves Swift).
Orsi collected 22 Championship points after leading every race lap along with winning the $1000 "Toyota Pole Award" after yesterday's qualifying. The victory allowed Orsi to extend his lead in the points over David Rutledge (Lynx Racing/Keg Steakhouse Swift) to 25 points for a total of 134 points.
"I had a really good start and on cold tires, I was able to open a nice gap on the rest of the field," said Brazil's Hoover Orsi. "After that, I really worked on taking care of the car and making sure to be easy on the gearbox, because I have broken a few, including one earlier this season in Montreal. I had a great car and that capped off an excellent weekend for us here in Trois-Rivieres."
Orsi had built as much as a six second lead on Basso and the rest of the field which allowed him to relax for a Sunday afternoon driver through the streets of Trois-Rivieres. Orsi broke a streak of three straight road course (dry track) wins by Rutledge. Rutledge, who started the race in third, sustained some early damage to his front wing while attempting a pass on Basso in turn six, but recovered to a third place result, salvaging four valuable Championship points. Even with the damage, Rutledge was able to turn the fastest lap in the latter stages of the race winning the $1000 WorldCom "Fast Pace" Award with a time of 1:00.917 seconds (89.866 mph), beating the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic Champion, Buddy Rice's one year old record of 1:01.197 seconds (89.475 mph).
"I had a great car in the opening laps, until I tried to pass Basso for second and he damaged the front wing on my car while we fought through the turn", said Rutledge. Our aero balance was down to about 25%, which gave the car massive understeer. It took me a couple of laps to figure out how to trick the car through the turns by tossing it into the corners in a massive slide and then catching it just before the wall. We still set the fastest lap of the race, and although Orsi gained a few points on me in the points, the championship battle is far from over. We'll have a very good car at all the remaining races and it's going to be a fight to the finish."
Basso finished in a solid second place for his best showing of the season after placing third in Montreal earlier this year. The runner-up spot allowed Basso to move up in the Championship past Tony Ave (P-1 Racing/Miller Genuine Draft Swift) who exited the race on fifth lap with mechanical problems. Basso now has 77 points, 8 ahead of Ave with 69 points. The performance today tied Basso's best career finish on a road course with the other runner-up finish coming at Cleveland last year.
"Well, I feel great," said Argentina's Martin Basso. "I tried to keep my position on track and I guess David (Rutledge) and I touched. I did not feel it, but I guess he clipped my left rear wheel." Basso continued. "The team gave me a great car this weekend and I'm really happy with our results. We are getting better each week and are due for a win."
Michael Valiante (Lynx Racing/Copart Auto Actions/Italian Motors Swift) had another strong showing again today in only his fourth race of the season. Despite only running six of the season's twelve events, Valiante is only eight points behind Joey Hand (DSTP Motorsports/BG Products Swift) in the Rookie of the Year points. Today's fourth place finish moved his total to 48 points. The West Vancouver native finished second earlier this season at Montreal and fourth at the season opening race at Long Beach.
The Rookie of the Year chase is still in a free for all with Hand finishing sixth today and leading the battle with 56 points. Jonathan Macri (P-1 Racing/NTN Bearings Swift) came home fifth and his second in the ROTY standings with 53 points. Grant Ryley (Worldspeed Motorsports/Northwest Speedwerx Swift) finished in ninth after dropping two spots on the final lap when his car lost power. Ryley is still in the thick of the ROTY chase at 47 points.
Today's race was the second race of the season to run caution free even though six drivers failed to finish the race with mechanical problems. The Round 4 race at Montreal was also run without any yellow flag periods.
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship heads back for its second trip to the state of Wisconsin in two weeks for the Motorola 220 at Road America. Two weeks later, the Atlantic Championship returns for its final race in Canada for the Molson Indy Vancouver.
ESPN2 and ESPN International will broadcast Sunday's Round 8 race from Trois-Rivieres on Saturday, August 11, at 5:00 p.m. ET, while Atlantic fans in Canada can watch the race on CTV SportsNet on Tuesday, August 14, at 7:00 p.m. in the EAST, ONTARIO and WEST time zones, and at 8:00 p.m. in the PACIFIC zone. CTV repeat dates are: EAST, Thursday, August 16, 1:30 p.m., PACIFIC, Friday, August 17, 3:00 p.m., WEST, Thursday, August 16, 3:00 p.m., and ONTARIO, no repeat date. ESPN2 will replay the race on Tuesday, August 14, at 4:00 a.m. EST.
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship is one of the world's premier open-wheel development series and a key rung on CART's "ladder system". It is also noted for its long history of graduating its stars into CART competition. Among the drivers who have graduated from the Atlantic Series are CART Champ Car stars Michael Andretti, Jimmy Vasser, Alex Barron, Memo Gidley, Patrick Carpentier, Alex Tagliani as well as former series champions Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan and Jacques Villeneuve.
For full results and statistics, go to http://www.toyotaatlantic.com