Stevens wins Round 13 to Tighten Points Battle Entering Final Round Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada - September 2, 2006-- Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) did not let today's rain dampen his spirits and so kept his championship hopes alive...
Stevens wins Round 13 to Tighten Points Battle Entering Final Round
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada - September 2, 2006-- Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) did not let today's rain dampen his spirits and so kept his championship hopes alive with a win in Round 13 of the 2006 Formula BMW USA series. From the third starting position, the 21-year old Californian took the lead on the fourth lap of the 15-lap contest around the 2.46-mile Mosport International Raceway, finishing .166 seconds ahead of a charging Simona de Silvestro (EuroInternational). Stevens third win of the season moves him to third overall, only five points behind De Silvestro in second. Matt Lee (Team Autotecnica) finished third, two seconds ahead of point leader Robert Wickens (EuroInternational) in fourth. Lee set the fastest lap of the race on lap 15 (1:45.468) to establish the race record. John Zartarian (Gelles Racing) rounded out the top-five finishers.
Only a win by Wickens today would have given him the title so it will come down to tomorrow's Round 14 race to determine if Wickens, De Silvestro or Stevens will be the 2006 Formula BMW USA champion.
Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport) finished sixth and increased his lead in Rookie points. David Garza (EuroInternational) and Sebastian Saavedra (Gelles Racing), his closest competitors in the Rookie title chase, finished 14th and ninth respectively. The Rookie championship will also be decided in tomorrow's Round 14 race.
Because of the heavy rain the race began with a rolling start after the first lap was run behind the pace car. While leading, Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA) got loose going into the third lap giving the lead to Wickens who in turn ran wide giving the lead to Stevens. Wickens managed to rejoin the race in eighth place. The race's two caution periods slowed the race for only two laps and the subsequent restarts allowed De Silvestro to charge into second. She hounded Stevens for the remainder of the race, but ultimately had to settle for her sixth podium finish of the season. The difficult conditions caused five drivers to have accidents including Johnson, Maxime Pelletier (Gelles Racing), Joel Jackson (Gelles Racing), Robert Thorne (Team Autotecnica) and Philip Major (Atlantic Racing Team).
Steven Guerrero (HBR Motorsport Team USA) finished eighth and scored his first top-10 of the season delivering his best result to-date.
The top-five finishing Rookie drivers were Morad (P6), Steven Guerrero (P8), Sebastian Saavedra (P9), David Garza (P15) and Jordan Dick (P16).
The final race tomorrow will decide who will clinch the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship. Wickens' lead decreased after today's race to ten points in front of de Silvestro in second. Stevens' Round 13 win moves him up to third place in the Overall points followed by Lee who now stands fourth. Stefano Coletti (EuroInternational) who returned to the Formula BMW Germany championship rounds out the top-five.
With Morad's fine finish today he remains in the lead of the Rookie championship 13 points ahead of Saavedra who moved up and stands second. Only one point behind is David Garza (EuroInternational) in third. Pelletier and Jordan Dick (Team Apex Racing USA) stand fourth and fifth respectively and round out the top-five.
"It was really a tough race," said an excited Stevens. "Car control, keeping a good pace and building a gap to the rest of the field was very important. We definitely benefited from the two cars going out in front of us, but this is all part of racing. If you try too hard and you go off, you have nothing. You have to stay on the track. So it was really a hard-earned win and I think it's one of my best. Tomorrow we have to see if it is wet or dry. If it is wet then I will obviously try to stay consistent and finish ahead of Robert. If it is dry it will be completely flat out and really just within inches - a huge fight for sure to win the race."
De Silvestro said, "I feel great to finish second. I was very close to Reed and I could have won the race, but it is a good feeling to be on the podium especially under these rainy weather conditions. I have always been fast in the rain and I like to race when it rains. The start today was really confusing because nobody told us before what we are going to do if we have a rolling or a standing start. After the start going into the second lap I was able to keep my position and have a good race. Tomorrow will be strange because Robert will start first and I will start last, but I will try to do my best and we will see what will happen."
Lee said, "The rain didn't bother me and I had a great race. I am happy that I gained some valuable points today. The start was quite different today, but my team did a great job telling me exactly what was going on. For tomorrow's race I definitely have to think smart and stay on the track. I hope it will be a dry race. I will fight for the championship. I hope to finish tomorrow in first or second place and can ensure hopefully the second place in the championship points. To win the title is out of reach now."
The Round 14 race is scheduled to start at 1:20 p.m. tomorrow.