Lee Scores Round 7 and 8 Pole Position at Indianapolis Indianapolis, Ind. - June 30, 2006-- Matt Lee (Team Autotecnica), 16, of Syosset, NY scored the pole position for both Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship in today's...
Lee Scores Round 7 and 8 Pole Position at Indianapolis
Indianapolis, Ind. - June 30, 2006-- Matt Lee (Team Autotecnica), 16, of Syosset, NY scored the pole position for both Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship in today's single qualifying session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Besting the 29-car field in front of the United States Grand Prix crowd Lee's times of 1:38.981 and 1:39.393 minutes around the 2.605 miles road course just out paced championship points co-leader Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA). Wickens, the third place finisher in both Indy rounds last season, will line up next to Lee after recording quick laps of 1:39.042 and 1:39.451 minutes. Just as she stands in championship points behind Lee and Wickens, Simona de Silvestro (EuroInternational) will start third in Round 7. Her time of 1:40.027 minutes was just ahead of fourth place starter Ryan Phinny's (Hearn Motorsports) 1:40.053 minute lap. Phinny's second fastest lap of 1:40.059 will place him third in Round 8, equaling his qualifying performance in Round 1.
Today's 30-minute session was marked by rain just before the green flag and every competitor began with rain tires on their Formula BMW FB02. The rain abated and at the half-way point the fast line was dry. Hearn Motorsport's years of Indy experience brought Phinny into the pits for dry tires first and the young Californian benefited from the quick thinking with the fourth and third place starting positions. 15 more competitors changed to dry tires before the session ended, all setting times seconds faster than the 12 drivers that elected to stay on rain tires.
Phillip Major (Atlantic Racing Team) will start ninth and seventh for the young Canadian driver's best qualifying effort of the season. Rookie points leader Maxime Pelletier (Gelles Racing) did not change to dry tires and will start 23rd and 20th.
The fastest Rookies in Round 7 and 8 qualifying were Daniel Morad (P6), Sebastian Saavedra (P10), Jordan Dick (P14), Steven Guerrero (P16) and David Garza (P18).
"I am very excited and happy. It was a difficult qualifying session with both wet and dry but we managed to pull it off. It was definitely the right decision to change to dry tires. You couldn't be faster than 15th position without dry tires," a delighted Lee said. "For both races I will have a really good car and my plan is to pull away from the field and win. The race track is great. Only a few select people get to drive on it and I am very happy to be here."
Wickens said, "I am very satisfied with my qualifying results but unfortunately the person I didn't want to be in front of me ended up there. I have a lot of work to do tomorrow. We can make the car much faster than it was. I was not satisfied with the car today and had handling problems here and there. Four second place qualifying positions in the four races with Formula One is not that bad and I will try to get the best out of the races tomorrow and on Sunday."
De Silvestro said, "I feel very excited to start from third tomorrow especially here in Indy where I live actually now. I hope to win and gain points and my goal is to lead the Championship points at the end of the races in Indy. It was the right decision to change to dry tires. I could have done it one lap earlier that would have been better but I am happy with my results today."
Phinny said, "My team and I are working all year very hard and we got the car finally dialed in the way we wanted it. I definitely wanted the pole and I were on top for a while but I am happy with a third and fourth starting position. My team did an awesome job. Engineer and team owner, they both decided with my feedback from the track that it was time to come into the pits. I was the first and back on the track I could track myself while everybody pitted. It was definitely a good decision and it paid off."
The Round 7 race is scheduled to start at 4:40 p.m. tomorrow morning and the Round 8 contest is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.