Ryan Campbell fastest again Gelles Racing puts Three drivers in Top Five at VIR Front Royal, April 10, 2006. -- Gelles Racing was again the fastest team on the track this weekend when three of its drivers posted times among the Top Five and...
Ryan Campbell fastest again
Gelles Racing puts Three drivers in Top Five at VIR
Front Royal, April 10, 2006. -- Gelles Racing was again the fastest team on the track this weekend when three of its drivers posted times among the Top Five and showed consistency throughout the Formula BMW USA second official testing sessions held at Virginia International Raceway. Leading the charts was again Ryan Campbell who set the best time of the weekend while young Colombian Sebastian Saavedra was third and Formula BMW USA Junior Maxime Pelletier was fifth. Saturday sessions were under constant rain and gave Saavedra the chance to demonstrate his talent also on wet tarmac. Sunday's sessions were on a dry track and Campbell, who has been dominating since the beginning of the Official BMW USA testing season, regained first place overall.
"We are very happy with the results of our young drivers, as anyone would expect, said team owner Bob Gelles. All our drivers have shown maturity and our crew gave them excellent cars. It is our policy that we come testing with a program and each driver has his own assignment. We like to have our staff work with the engineers and the drivers to improve and sometimes try new setup strategies. This is truly a testing season and we want to get as many scenarios ready when the races start at Mid-Ohio in May. The tracks we visit and the number of sessions our drivers will take to the track will make us well prepared. Gelles Racing has accomplished a lot this past weekend. We have set our Gelles team as the one to beat in Formula BMW USA; we were consistently in the top-10 in Champ Car Atlantic timing sheets at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Gelles has proven in both championships that it's (8) cars will be extremely familiar with the podium in 2006. A true testament to the team's ability, desire and commitment to our drivers whom are our customers. Teamwork pays dividends and every single team employee's hard work and dedication is a contribution to the success!"
Ryan started where he left at Road Atlanta. He saved his car on Saturday in the rain but earned best times in the first and third sessions of Sunday outings. He lowered again the track record (1:07:346) at VIR. Ryan is really the class of the field since official Formula BMW USA testing started and has to be considered the title contender when the season opens at Mid-Ohio. ''I'm thrilled with the work we accomplished this weekend, he says. The crew and my engineers are really giving me a strong Western Union machine and this year I know I can win races.''
The young Colombian rookie was very strong in the pouring rain and kept going with Top Three performances on Sunday. ''Don't be fooled with the kind child looks of this young man, said team owner Bob Gelles. He's a real shark out there. Sebastian was faster by as much as five seconds in the rain compared to some competitors. He's the top Rookie again this weekend with his teammate Pelletier and those two will race for podiums as well as the Rookie Championship this season.''
Maxime remained the top Formula BMW USA Junior Rookie all weekend and completed his two days in fifth place overall amongst all competitors. The French Canadian was all smiles: ''I don't mind racing in the wet like Saturday, but I am happier with the consistency I showed by being in the top seven or eight all weekend. We have worked with many setups and learned much more about the car that I will take to the Season.''
The Canadian was as high at sixth at one point. "I was pretty satisfied with my second session in the rain Saturday and my second session on Sunday. I'm improving and still race within a second of pole position. I made a small mistake on Sunday damaging the starter/flywheel and missed the fastest session. The pace is very quick and I keep pushing hard. ''
Zartarian, who aimed to get back in the Top Ten, had plenty of car in his hands. ''I have to realize that my car is faster than last year, he admits, and I have to change some driving habits. Sunday was much better and the level of confidence increased as I made it back in to tenth. I'll be much quicker in Carolina".
The Jamaican champion made more ground towards his teammate's best time. With the help of a driver coach, he narrowed the gap to a mere 1.3 second and kept his FB02 clean of any problem. ''I'm very happy because I'm still improving, added Jackson. I feel more and more comfortable every time I lap a session and I aim to be in the top half of the field. Saturday in the rain was pretty exciting; I kept the machine going and didn't put a wheel wrong.''
Testing in Carolina
Gelles Racing will get ready for two more days of testing on April 29 and 30 at Carolina Motorsports Park. Cars will be screened for any problem in the next two weeks. Season starts at Mid-Ohio on May 18th with a last test day before the first double header.
In 2006, Gelles Racing enters the Formula BMW USA Championship with six cars and the Champ Car Atlantic Championship with a two-car effort. Western Union, BMW of Sterling, MINI of Sterling, USA TODAY, Hebert & LeBleu, Roadblock Protective Services Inc and Diamon-Fusion sponsor the team.