HINCHCLIFFE PODIUMS IN MONTREAL "17 year-old Canadian Rookie Performs Well on Home Soil" TORONTO, ON. -- (June 13, 2004) 17-year old James Hinchcliffe competed in the lone Canadian stop in this years Formula BMW (FBMW) USA Championship...
HINCHCLIFFE PODIUMS IN MONTREAL
"17 year-old Canadian Rookie Performs Well on Home Soil"
TORONTO, ON. -- (June 13, 2004) 17-year old James Hinchcliffe competed in the lone Canadian stop in this years Formula BMW (FBMW) USA Championship and in front of the Formula One crowd in Montreal performed in fine form. The event was held in conjunction with the Montreal Grand Prix at the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve. The talented rookie steered his AIM Autosport / Franczak Enterprises #56 entry to two top five finishes on the very technical race course.
After performing well in Friday morning's test session, Hinchcliffe focused his attention on qualifying. With family, friends and sponsors in the crowd, the Oakville Trafalgar High School graduate was hoping to give them something to cheer about. Circuiting the track very fast in the opening laps of the timed session, Hinchcliffe was up near the front and showed signs of a pole position run. As the checkered flag flew, James found himself on the inside of row #2 in the third position. Even though Hinchcliffe was very happy with his starting position, he would be advanced up in the running order as the drivers with the two quickest laps were disqualified for a technical infraction allowing the AIM driver to take the pole for rounds # 3 and 4 in the FBMW USA championship.
Saturday morning proved record setting for the series as it was the first time in North American competition that a Canadian driver was on the pole. Hinchcliffe led the field to the green and took the lead as they entered turn one. Pulling away in the opening stages of the race allowed the Rookie of the Year candidate to relax and settle down into a smooth quick rhythm. Hinchcliffe led the first half of the event before being overtaken for the win. "We were awesome on cold tires," stated Hinchcliffe. "I tried to push hard and get a lead but unfortunately, with the huge draft down the long back straight, we fell a little short in the end. We will make some changes for tomorrow and will try to keep the AIM Autosport Franczak Car out front."
Round four took place on Sunday morning right before the start of the Canadian Grand Prix. Before a packed crowd Hinchcliffe used his experience in shifter kart standing starts to rocket into first and again led the field to into the first corner. Hinchcliffe assumed the point in the opening stages of the race before being overtaken in a very risky move. Hinchcliffe and his fellow competitor touched wheels and both went off course allowing the remainder of the field to close the established gap. James regained control of his car in time to stay in the lead but with minor damage was unable to sustain race speed and eventually fell to and finishing in the second position. "The race was going really well until the contact with Jonathan (Summerton). It killed my momentum and allowed second place to pass by me. I was able to keep up, we finished less than half a second down, but a little bit of damage on the car kept us off the top step. Still a great result for the whole AIM Autosport Team, my family, and for Canada."
After the first four rounds in the 14 race championship series, Hinchcliffe sits second in the overall series championship with 53 points, only seven down from first place. The talented rookie also leads the BMW Rookie Cup points with a total of 75 points. James' next on-track action will be next weekend for rounds number five and six in the Formula BMW USA Championship. Competing at the US Grand Prix, Hinchcliffe will look to continue his recent success in the championship. For more information on the Formula BMW USA Championship please visit www.bmw-motorsport.com.