Lee Wins Formula BMW's Round Four And Earns a Pole Position at Lime Rock Over Memorial Day Weekend LAKEVILLE, Conn., May 30 - Twin tooth Racing's Matt Lee made big strides towards his goal of becoming the 2006 Formula BMW USA champion when he ...
Lee Wins Formula BMW's Round Four And Earns a Pole Position at Lime Rock Over Memorial Day Weekend
LAKEVILLE, Conn., May 30 - Twin tooth Racing's Matt Lee made big strides towards his goal of becoming the 2006 Formula BMW USA champion when he garnered one pole position and posted one victory in the series' Memorial Day weekend doubleheader at Lime Rock Park here.
After winning the pole for Round Four on Saturday, the 16-year-old driver from Syosset, N.Y. took the checkered flag in second place in that race on Monday afternoon. He was later declared the winner when the car driven by Simona de Silvestro didn't pass the post-race technical inspection.
Earlier in the weekend Lee, who drives the Team Autotecnica No. 44, started 23rd and charged all the way up to seventh in Round Three of the 14-race series. The starting grid for the first race was determined by points due to rain.
His teammate, Robert Thorne of Sherman, Conn., started 13th and finished ninth in the first race and started 22nd and finished 15th in the second race.
Lee is now fifth in the driver point standings. Thorne is 16th in the overall points and fifth in the rookie point standings.
Both teens' cars are sponsored in part by Bumper to Bumper, Autoparts Warehouse, the Francis A. Lee Company, Matt-Con Services Corp. and Integrated Structures, although they're looking for additional marketing partners.
Lee led the first four laps of Monday's race before de Silvestro passed him. He kept the pressure up for the rest of the 30-minute race, but he ran out of time to make it by her when the event ended under yellow after Scott Schroeder spun and got stuck on a curb. Lee got the news that he was the actual winner later in the paddock after the officials made their ruling.
"Definitely, I want to continue these strong finishes," Lee said afterwards. "I had the pole position, finished second, and now I'm declared the winner. It was a long race, and one mistake allowed Simona to pass me. I raced really hard and will continue this strategy in the next rounds when we race in Montreal and Indianapolis. Of course I would like to win, but definitely a podium finish should be possible.
"I want to thank our sponsors and of course everyone at Autotecnica," Lee emphasized. "They really gave me a good car."
Although he was delighted with his first Formula BMW USA victory, Lee also didn't forget the real heroes that Americans remember on Memorial Day. "Our armed forces are the ones who made us free and continue to keep America strong so that we can even have races in the first place," he pointed out.
Rounding out the top five in Round Four were Daniel Morad, John Zartarian, Maxime Pelletier and Race Johnson.
Lee won the pole for that event Saturday morning in a rainy qualifying session that was shortened due to accidents. His fastest lap around the 1.53-mile, seven-turn road course was a 53.735 (102.503 mph) to de Silvestro's 54.059.
"It is my first time here and so far it is going pretty well," Lee told Formula BMW press officers after qualifying. "Qualifying was a little short, but we managed to set the fastest lap time. Even with the red flag we had a lot more in the car and I had a lot more in me."
In Saturday's race Lee passed 16 cars before that race also ended under a full-course caution. Robert Wickens won over de Silvestro, Reed Stevens, Sebastian Saavedra and David Garza. That event was held under sunny conditions.
Lee's car was getting better and better as its tires heated up. His fastest lap, and the sixth-fastest lap of the race, was a 53.634 recorded on lap 21 of the 25-lap event.
The next doubleheaders support North America's Grand Prixs. Rounds Five and Six will be held June 23-25 as support events for the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. Rounds Seven and Eight will be held as part of the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Ind. June 30-July 2.
More information is available on the Internet at twintooth.com, autotecnicagroup.com and formulabmwusa.com.