USA: Denver race one qualifying notes

Lee scores pole for Round 11 Denver, Colo. - August 11, 2006-- After pacing the 24-car field in this morning's practice session, Matt Lee (Team Autotecnica) scored the pole position for Round 11 of the Formula BMW USA championship today at the...

Lee scores pole for Round 11

Denver, Colo. - August 11, 2006-- After pacing the 24-car field in this morning's practice session, Matt Lee (Team Autotecnica) scored the pole position for Round 11 of the Formula BMW USA championship today at the Grand Prix of Denver. Lee, who stands second in overall points, took his fourth pole of the year with a 1:16.113 minute lap around the 1.657-mile temporary street circuit. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) will start second (1:16.440), equaling his season's best effort. Points leader Robert Wickens (EuroInternational) will start third (1:16.874), ending his string of six consecutive front row starts that included poles in both rounds in San Jose.

The 30-minute qualifying session was shortened by a red flag in the eighth minute for an incident involving Joel Jackson (Gelles Racing). Only 15 minutes remained after the green flag waved, but no one could best the times set in the opening minutes by the top-three. Simona de Silvestro (EuroInternational) moved into fourth in the 23rd minute to record her eighth top-five start. The fifth starting position was taken in the closing minutes by John Zartarian (Gelles Racing).

Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport) will start sixth, the fastest Rookie in the field. He stands fourth in Rookie points, only 14 points from leader David Garza (EuroInternational). Gelles Racing teammates Maxime Pelletier and Sebastian Saavedra stand second and third respectively.

The fastest Rookies in Round 11 qualifying were Daniel Morad (P6), Jordan Dick (P8), David Garza (P11), Sebastian Saavedra (P12) and Robert Thorne (P15).

Other notable Round 11 qualifiers were Adrien Herberts (Gelles Racing) in seventh and Jordan Dick (Team Apex Racing USA) in eighth, both recording their best starts of the season.

"Denver is one of my favorite tracks. I like street circuits and this one flows very nicely," said a delighted Lee. "I am really excited about my pole position today. I needed this extra point so I can come back in the championship and try to win it. For tomorrow's race I hope for a good start, a clean race and that I can just take off and win. I know that my hardest competition is right behind me with Reed, Robert and Simona, but I am quite confident."

Stevens said, "It is very good to start second at this course because it makes it easier to pass for the lead. My car was really good today. Towards the end of the session my tires got a little bit hot. I slowed down to let the tires cool off, but ran out off time as I was not aware of how much time was left in the session. I think I could have had the pole. I really like the track. I think it is just as good as last year. I had the race record last year so I think to be on pace to do the same this year."

Wickens said, "I was expecting today's qualifying result. We were second in the practice session and now we will start third. We made changes to the car, but it was not quite enough. I don't think I had a car good enough to get the pole. We are still starting at front in the race, but obviously I would like to have had a 21 point lead and now I have a 19. The Denver street course is fun. I liked it last year and I like it now."

The Round 11 race is scheduled to start at 12:15 p.m. tomorrow after Round 12 qualifying at 8:00 a.m. Sunday's Round 12 race is scheduled to start at 10:15 a.m.

-credit: bmw.usa

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Robert Thorne , Robert Wickens , Reed Stevens , Adrien Herberts , John Zartarian , Maxime Pelletier , Simona de Silvestro , David Garza , Jordan Dick , Sebastian Saavedra , Daniel Morad , Joel Jackson , Matt Lee