Johnson scores pole for Round 13; De Silvestro's Round 4 disqualification overturned - EuroInternational wins Team Championship Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada - September 1, 2006-- Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA) scored his first career ...
Johnson scores pole for Round 13; De Silvestro's Round 4 disqualification overturned - EuroInternational wins Team Championship
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada - September 1, 2006-- Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA) scored his first career Formula BMW pole position in Round 13 qualifying of the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship today at Mosport International Raceway. The 17-year old from Portland, Oregon lapped the 2.46-mile, 10-turn circuit in 1:21.169 minutes, establishing a new qualifying record. This is the first visit by Formula BMW USA to the classic Canadian track. Rounds 13 and 14 of the championship this weekend will crown both the Overall and Rookie champions.
Points leader Robert Wickens (EuroInternational) will start second. His fast lap of 1:21.175 minutes was good for the 17-year old Canadian's seventh front row start of the season. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) will start third (1:21.188) in one of the closest qualifying sessions ever - the top-three are separated by a scant .019 seconds. Maxime Pelletier (Gelles Racing) and Matt Lee (Team Autotecnia) round out the top-five starters.
Perhaps the biggest winner of the day was the birthday present sixth-place qualifier Simona de Silvestro (EuroInternational) received. The appeal regarding her disqualification from her Round 4 victory was upheld by IMSA and she will receive the 20 points for the win. She now joins Wickens, Lee and Stevens as one of four drivers who can capture the 2006 title. She stands second in Overall points (117), 15 points behind Wickens (132). Lee is third (111) and Stevens fourth (107). EuroInternational has clinched the 2006 Formula BMW USA Team Championship.
The fastest Rookies in Round 13 qualifying were Pelletier (P4), Daniel Morad (P8), David Garza (P9), Jordan Dick (P17) and Robert Thorne (P19).
Johnson topped the time sheets in both of this morning's 30-minute practice sessions with a best lap of 1:21.566 minutes. Sebastian Saavedra, third in Rookie points, had an incident in the second practice session so that he missed the qualifying session today.
"I feel really good about this weekend. HBR gave me an awesome car. My team has always been there for me and I want to thank them," stated a happy Johnson. "I feel very excited about my first pole especially after the disappointment of being penalized on the last race weekend. I was really motivated to do well here. For tomorrow I hope the weather holds out and we don't have a storm." And he added, "My car was incredible to drive today. I didn't need to push extremely hard. I have been driving just the same as I have been driving all year. I had some good luck here and the track came to the car. The track is very fast and it takes a lot of risk to go quick."
Wickens said, "I am very pleased with the results today. It is very important to start on the front row this weekend because I have the chance to clinch the championship if I win the race. It is going to be a lot of pressure, but I have one of the best starting spots to do it. Mosport is my home track and all my friends and family came to cheer me on to the championship."
Stevens said, "The times are really close which is a little bit surprising from practice this morning. It is disappointing to come on third when you are so close to pole. On my final lap I thought I had a really good lap going, but Robert lifted right in front of me and I lost the time. The start of the race tomorrow should be good as Race and I up there in the front together. We can work together to get past Robert and win the race."
De Silvestro stated, "Winning the appeal was like a birthday present. I am very happy because I am going into the final Rounds standing second in the championship. Now maybe I can even win it. Tomorrow I will start from sixth and everything can happen as I know I am good at overtaking."
-credit: formula bmw