Rookie Points Leader Gutierrez Takes Round 10 Win San Jose, Calif. - July 29, 2007-- 15-year old Rookie Esteban Gutierrez (Autotecnica), of Monterrey, Mexico, won Round 10 of the 2007 Formula BMW USA Championship today at the San Jose Grand Prix...
Rookie Points Leader Gutierrez Takes Round 10 Win
San Jose, Calif. - July 29, 2007-- 15-year old Rookie Esteban Gutierrez (Autotecnica), of Monterrey, Mexico, won Round 10 of the 2007 Formula BMW USA Championship today at the San Jose Grand Prix from his record-setting seventh pole of the season. Leading from standing-start to checkered flag, Gutierrez finished 4.685 seconds ahead of Daniel Morad (Eurointernational) in the 26-lap race. With his third win of the season Gutierrez consolidates his led in the Rookie point standings and moves to second in the Overall points. Morad, who set a new race lap record (1:02.497) on his way to adding a third podium finish to his five season victories, retains the lead in the Overall standings. Rookie Junior driver Ricardo Favoretto (HBR Motorsport Team USA) finished third to cap the best weekend of his career.
Maxime Pelletier (HBR Motorsport Team USA) finished fourth and Philip Major (Autotecnica) finished fifth.
The top-finishing Rookie drivers were Gutierrez (P1), Favoretto (P3), Eric Morrow (P7) and Timothy Hollowell (P9).
Due to damage in the warm up, Junior driver Jeffrey Petriello sustained damage that prevented him from joining the race. The 15-car field got off to a clean start with Gutierrez holding the lead over Morad into Turn 1. They were able to open a gap as Yannick Hofman's (Eurointernational) progress was hampered after Robert Thorne (Team Apex Racing USA) spun him out. Both were able to continue, Thorne with a damaged front wing. Round 9 winner Alexander Rossi (Team Apex Racing USA) ended his day early after tapping the wall in Turn 3. He was forced to retire with a broken left rear suspension, bringing out the only caution period of the day.
The field settled down after the lap 3 restart with Pelletier giving chase to Favoretto. Although action continued in the rear of the field, the finishing order remained unchanged.
"We had some tough luck this weekend." said Gutierrez. "Crashing in practice and missing qualifying, and yesterday's technical exclusion. To qualify for pole for the second race I had to put everything behind me and focus on the moment and forget the past and keep going forward. It is good to win."
Championship points leader Morad commented, "Yesterday was my fault and I feel bad for my team because I pushed past the limit when I was running in second place. It cost my team valuable points, but I am glad to have raced a clean race and extend the points lead with a strong second place today."
Favoretto added, "Without a chance to do pre-season testing, I was afraid I would not be able to get to a point where I could get to the podium in my rookie season. I learn more every race and the team is working very well and everything is coming together. I am very happy to be on the podium and hope to do it again soon."
Rounds 11 and 12 of the Formula BMW USA Championship will be held at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on August 9-12.