WESTBROOK SWEEPS PORSCHE RACES AMID SUNDAY CONTROVERSY Coletti wins exciting Formula BMW USA duel at USGP INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, July 2, 2006 -- Richard Westbrook won the Porsche Michelin Supercup series race July 2 at Indianapolis Motor...
WESTBROOK SWEEPS PORSCHE RACES AMID SUNDAY CONTROVERSY
Coletti wins exciting Formula BMW USA duel at USGP
INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, July 2, 2006 -- Richard Westbrook won the Porsche Michelin Supercup series race July 2 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, completing a sweep of the two Porsche events during the United States Grand Prix weekend.
Series point leader Westbrook led all 32 laps of Porsche competition during the weekend on the 2.605-mile road course.
Westbrook, from London, beat Indianapolis 500 veteran Alessandro Zampedri to the finish line by .9 of a second July 2, averaging 86.297 mph in the No. 17 Racing Team Morellato Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Patrick Huisman finished third.
A feud that began in earnest Saturday between Uwe Alzen and David Saelens heated up considerably on Lap 1 of Sunday's race. Saelens was one position ahead of Alzen entering Turn 4 when a bump from Alzen sent Saelens spinning, causing a five-car pile-up and Safety Car deployment until Lap 6.
"I can't really speak for anyone else, all I can really do is my own race and the other guys are losing their heads," Westbrook said Sunday. "But I had to keep my cool because I had Alex Zampedri coming, who is very, very quick around this track. To get two wins at this fantastic arena is a dream come true. I couldn't leave this country happier."
Following Saturday's race, Saelens had choice words for what he felt was bad driving by Alzen. The Porsche Michelin Supercup stewards agreed, handing Alzen a 15-second penalty that dropped him from third to ninth place. The penalty handed third place to Ian Baas, from Indianapolis.
The results for Saelens were disappointing because, like Westbrook, he swept both rounds of Supercup competition at the USGP in 2005. The only other weekend sweep in Supercup racing at the USGP occurred in 2004, when Wolf Henzler won both races.
"Well, always the same madman, you know," Saelens said of Alzen's weekend actions. "I think he should go racing in some stock car, or maybe even better, in ultimate fighting. If he has so much aggression in himself, he should get rid of it somewhere else. I work for this the whole year. I train hard for this. Then there is some madman who takes every chance away in just 48 hours, and it's difficult for me to live with this."
In Sunday's 14-lap Formula BMW USA race, Monaco resident Stefano Coletti held off hard-charging opponents Robert Wickens and Simona de Silvestro to win for the locally based EuroInternational team. His average speed was 94.493.
Wickens, from Toronto, finished second. De Silvestro, an Italian national who lives in the Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville, Ind., finished third.
"Indianapolis is something special," Coletti said. "It's like the temple of the speed, and to come here and to win, it's really something special. And to kiss the bricks, it's just really unbelievable. I've seen it on TV and now to do it, it feels really great. I started 10th because I had some problems in qualifying, and I had a very, very good start."
Coletti's margin of victory was 1.8 seconds, and he led the final four laps. But the statistics don't tell the story of an exciting race that saw numerous duels for the lead, several passes between the timing-and-scoring line at the start/finish line and a long stint of close racing between Coletti, Wickens and Matt Lee, who sat on the pole for both races.
Wickens beat Lee to Turn 1 at the start of the race and led until Lap 6, when Lee retook the lead with an outside pass entering Turn 1, but Wickens nipped Lee at the line the next time around to be officially credited with leading the full lap.
On Lap 10, Wickens, Lee and Coletti were three-wide down the main straightaway, and Coletti used a daring, sweeping pass from the outside to take a lead he never relinquished. Lee got airborne going over the Turn 1 curb and went through the grass, allowing de Silvestro to take third.