Double Podiums Again For Hinchcliffe James Hinchcliffe keeps his top five streak alive in Cleveland TORONTO, ON. -- JULY 5, 2004 - 17-year-old James Hinchcliffe (Franczak Enterprises / AIM Autosport / ...
Double Podiums Again For Hinchcliffe
James Hinchcliffe keeps his top five streak alive in Cleveland
TORONTO, ON. -- JULY 5, 2004 - 17-year-old James Hinchcliffe (Franczak Enterprises / AIM Autosport / #56), performed well this weekend in rounds 7 and 8 in the Formula BMW USA (FBMW) Championship series. The event was held in conjunction with the Cleveland Grand Prix as the BMW pilots shared the airport circuit with the Champ Car World Series drivers for the first time this season.
As the top rookie in the series, the 17-year-old again qualified in the top five for both events in Friday afternoon's qualifying sessions. "We missed about half of the practices with minor car glitches and then had some problems in qualifying and are not as far up as we hoped," explained Hinchcliffe in a phone interview from the track. "The team and I were looking for a top three starting position but we will have some work to do. I will look to take the AIM Autosport Franczak Enterprises BMW to the front."
Hinchcliffe started the Friday afternoon event from the fourth position and was looking to take his first victory of the year. Never finishing out of the top five, Hinchcliffe was moving forward from the beginning of the event. The BMW scholarship winner made some bold moves to take the second step on the podium. "I was having a great race with Matt (Jaskol). We were side-by-side for three corners. Unfortunately that let the leader pull away a little, but it was a lot of fun and good for the fans."
Round #8 took place on the wide open circuit on Saturday afternoon and the talented Canadian rookie was forced to start from the inside of row three. Looking to keep his podium streak alive, Hinchcliffe battled with the lead quartet for the entire race. Avoiding the third place driver on lap 3 as his car smashed into the daunting turn 8 wall allowed the lead duo to gap the field. Hinchcliffe pressed hard running faster lap times than the leading pair, but simply ran out of laps. As a result, the Oakville, ON resident garnered a third place finish and in the process tightened up the chase for the overall series championship.
Hinchcliffe is still in command of the BMW Rookie Cup and leads his closest rival by 12 points. With the two podium finishes this weekend in Cleveland, the Oakville Trafalgar High School graduate tightened up the championships point fight and sits in the third position with only 13 points covering the top 3.
Hinchcliffe, his team and fellow competitors will have a few weeks off as they prepare for the next event in one months time at the famed Road America circuit. The 17-year-old will take this month off and work on marketing and promotional opportunities to help advance his motorsports career.