USA: Lime Rock rounds 3, 4 preview

Woodcliff Lake, NJ - May 24, 2006 -- The 2006 Formula BMW USA championship will mark an important anniversary when it stops at Lime Rock Park on May 26-29 for Rounds 3 and 4. The track, located on the Western edge of Connecticut, hosted the first...

Woodcliff Lake, NJ - May 24, 2006 -- The 2006 Formula BMW USA championship will mark an important anniversary when it stops at Lime Rock Park on May 26-29 for Rounds 3 and 4. The track, located on the Western edge of Connecticut, hosted the first ever Formula BMW USA races in 2004 with Andreas Wirth winning both Rounds and eventually being crowned the first Formula BMW USA Champion.

Lime Rock's 1.53-mile track winds through seven fast turns and contains two extreme elevation changes adding up to a very challenging circuit. Its rich history and world class sports car racing events made the track a perfect partner for BMW of North America, LLC, which recently announced BMW as the official car of Lime Rock Park.

Racing in support of the Grand American Series this year, the return to Lime Rock will no doubt feature exciting racing action with 27 young Formula BMW USA drivers entered. In 2004, the top drivers qualified at an average speed of more than 106 mph and both races were decided by less than half a second.

With the first two round victories split between a veteran and a rookie, it appears that the 2006 championship will be a close fight between returning experienced Formula BMW USA drivers and highly competitive new drivers.

Round 1 saw returning driver and 2005 Junior Reed Stevens, 20, of Palo Alto, Calif. triumphing over second place finisher Robert Wickens, 17, of Toronto, Canada, who can also look back on a season with Formula BMW USA. 2006 Junior driver and double Mid-Ohio pole sitter David Garza, 17, of Monterrey, Mexico, finished third.

The winner of Round 2 was Rookie Daniel Morad, 16, of Markham, Canada, who started from 12th and took the lead after only seven laps. Returning drivers John Zartarian, 19, of Carlsbad, Calif. and Adrian Herberts, 16, of Coquitlam, Canada finished second and third, respectively.

Simona de Silvestro, 17, of Zionsville, Indiana, the only female in this year's championship, was always fast at Mid-Ohio. She started 10th and finished fourth in Round 1. On the outside pole for Round 2, she tangled with another car just after the start and did not finish. She will definitely be ready to prove herself at Lime Rock.

Two Rookies and four returning drivers stand in the top-six of the championship. Rookie Morad holds the lead over Stevens and Zartarian. Rookie Garza is fourth with Herberts and Wickens right behind him.

Garza leads the Rookie points followed by Sebastian Saavedra, 15, of Bogota, Colombia. Morad rounds out the top-three Rookies. Formula BMW USA Junior drivers Robert Thorne, Maxime Pelletier and Jordan Dick stand fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Two 25-minutes practice sessions will be held on Friday, May 26, followed by Round 3 qualifying at 4:35 p.m. Round 4 qualifying will be held at 9:45 a.m. Saturday with the Round 3 race is scheduled to start at 1:10 p.m. The Round 4 race is scheduled to start at 1:15 p.m. on Monday, May 29.

-fbmw-

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Robert Thorne , Andreas Wirth , Robert Wickens , Reed Stevens , Maxime Pelletier , Simona de Silvestro , David Garza , Jordan Dick , Sebastian Saavedra , Daniel Morad