Robert Wickens Wins Round 7 Indianapolis, Ind. - July 1, 2006-- BMW Junior driver Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA) won Round 7 of the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship in front of the United States Grand Prix crowd today at the Indianapolis...
Robert Wickens Wins Round 7
Indianapolis, Ind. - July 1, 2006-- BMW Junior driver Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA) won Round 7 of the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship in front of the United States Grand Prix crowd today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Recording his second victory of the season, he took the lead from his second starting position and led all 15 laps, finishing 1.426 seconds ahead of Round 5 and 6 winner Stefano Coletti (EuroInternational). EuroInternational teammate Simona de Silvestro finished third 11.040 seconds behind Wickens to score her third podium of the season.
Getting an excellent start from his second starting position Wickens jumped past polesitter Matt Lee (Team Autotecnica) heading towards the first turn. Further back in the field, starting position 15 Reed Stevens' car failed to move and a caution period was necessary to remove the car from the track. At the restart two laps later, Wickens was able to defend his leading position and Coletti, fifth at this point, gained the momentum to pass Tobias Hegewald (Atlantic Racing Team) and teammate De Silvestro in the following lap to come second. De Silvestro fought off Lee and Hegewald and the three would finish third, fourth and fifth respectively.
The most progressive driver of the race was Tom Sutherland (Jensen Motorsport) who made up 17 places from his 24th starting position to finish seventh. Teammate Frankie Muniz started 27th and finished 16th delivering his best result of the season.
The top-five finishing Rookie drivers were Sebastian Saavedra (P8), Steven Guerrero (P11), David Garza (P12), Daniel Morad (P13) and Maxime Pelletier (P14).
The win regains Wickens' sole possession of the Overall championship points lead. Lee stands second and de Silvestro remains on third. Coletti and Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport) round out the top-five.
Sebastian Saavedra's (Gelles Racing) best Rookie finish today moves him to the top of the Rookie points with a eight points lead over Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport) and
Maxime Pelletier (Gelles Racing) who share the runner-up position in the Rookie points. David Garza (EuroInternational) and Jordan Dick (Team Apex Racing USA) round out the top-five.
"It was a great race. I got a very decent start and it could have not been much better as I was able to go to first," said an excited Wickens. "We didn't even complete one lap when the safety car came out. That sort of worried me a little bit because I knew it would be a little bit difficult to get a good restart on this track. Matt Lee was pretty fast on the straight but I was able to defend my position and then I pushed very hard." He added, "My strategy is to do exactly the same thing tomorrow. Leading the championship feels really good because going into the race I knew that I was two points behind because of Matt's two first qualifying positions. It feels great to be back on the top of the points."
Coletti said, "I started seventh because I had some problems in qualifying. I had a good start coming on fifth. I also tried to pass Simona in the first corner but then I thought it was too much risk between teammates. In the course of the race I was able to come up on second but Robert already had a three second advantage. I was able to catch up a little bit but the race was too short to pass him. Tomorrow I will start from tenth because I had a really bad second qualifying time but I will try to pass as many as I can in the first lap and try to be on the podium again."
De Silvestro said, "I am very happy to be on the podium in Indianapolis because I live here too. I had a good start but in the first corner Hegewald passed me and Stefano who was a little bit faster than me in the beginning passed me too. Then my car became better and better and I came up to Lee. We passed each other a couple of times. In the last lap I passed him a third time and came on third what was hard because he had a very good car. Tomorrow I will start from fifth. I think a podium is possible since I need to make points. Winning the championship at the end of the year is the most important for me."
The Round 8 race is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.