USA: Mid-Ohio race one notes

Reed Stevens Takes Round 1 Victory Lexington, Ohio - May 20, 2006-- Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) began the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship exactly where he ended the 2005 season - on the top step of the podium. The 20-year old, from...

Reed Stevens Takes Round 1 Victory

Lexington, Ohio - May 20, 2006-- Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) began the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship exactly where he ended the 2005 season - on the top step of the podium. The 20-year old, from Palo Alto, California won the final round last year and led today's Round 1 race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course from start to finish. Jumping into the lead from the outside pole he led Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA) to the checkered flag. Wickens was never more than one second behind Stevens for the entire 17-lap contest. Polesitter and Junior driver David Garza (EuroInternational) fell to third on the start, but held solidly on the last podium position.

The race ended under yellow after a lap 13 accident between Matt Lee (Team Autotecnica) and Joel Jackson (Gelles Racing). The resulting caution period ended the drive of the day by Simona de Silvestro (EuroInternational). Starting from the 10th position the 17-year old moved into sixth on lap four. After a three lap duel with Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA) she took the fifth position on lap seven and then, only four laps later, moved into fourth, setting the fastest lap of the race (1:27.392).

Other notable performances were given by Gelles Racing teammates John Zartarian and Maxime Pelletier who scored top-10 finishes (8th and 10th) after starting 11th and 12th respectively.

The top-finishing Rookies were Garza (P3), Sebastian Saavedra (P9), Maxime Pelletier (P10), Robert Thorne (P12) and Daniel Morad (P14).

"It is sort of an extension from last season and I want to be sure to stay on top this year. My team and I worked very hard and now we are very happy to be here, but we are not surprised at all," said a delighted Stevens. "The competition this season is stiff having two levels of drivers - the returning drivers that are very competitive and a couple of new drivers and rookies that are also very competitive. I do not expect to be on top every weekend. It will be quite a big fight to take the championship."

Wickens said, "It is great to finish the first race of the season on the podium. Hopefully I can repeat making podium finishes during the season. I want to thank my team and my sponsors. They made a lot of improvements from last year and my car is amazing. They do so much work just to keep me on my feet and keep me fast."

Garza added, "It is a dream come true. I have worked extremely hard. In past years I never got off my go-kart, I was pushing all day long and today it paid off. I want to thank my team and my sponsors. I had a very good car today and I received great support. I started on pole, finished third, but I am not disappointed. Reed and Robert have much more experience in Formula cars. For me it is my first year. I hope I can get better during season, but for now I am really satisfied with my performance."

The Round 2 race is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow.

-bmw-

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Robert Thorne , Robert Wickens , Reed Stevens , John Zartarian , Maxime Pelletier , Simona de Silvestro , David Garza , Sebastian Saavedra , Daniel Morad , Joel Jackson , Matt Lee