NA 2000: Gelles Racing Phoenix race notes

Phoenix International Raceway, Arizona, April 11, 2004. -- Gelles Racing ace driver Gustavo Sondermann was six laps from finishing on the podium when he spun coming out of a corner in the first race of the Formula Renault Pro 2000 series at the ...

Phoenix International Raceway, Arizona, April 11, 2004. -- Gelles Racing ace driver Gustavo Sondermann was six laps from finishing on the podium when he spun coming out of a corner in the first race of the Formula Renault Pro 2000 series at the Phoenix International Raceway. The Brazilian recovered and finished in 8th position. He was obviously disappointed with a result that does not reflect his weekend performance. American Michael Yager ran a flawless 28-lap sprint and finished 9th, his best finish in Pro series. Finally, Canadian Brandon Thomas was penalized at the start of the race, could not catch up and completed in 14th.

"We are sorry for Gustavo, said owner Bob Gelles. He was running strong and we knew he would step on the podium. And then, the car spins underneath him without warning. We're happy for Michael Yager who had his best race this year. Michael kept out of trouble to clinch 9th place. After his penalty, Brandon was too far down the field to really race with the pack. The season is very long and we will find occasions to celebrate."

Sondermann, fast all weekend

Gustavo and Juan Martin Ponte recorded fastest times on test day and practice day but the Argentinian earned the pole on Friday while Sondermann was fourth, only 0,15 second away. The Sao Paulo driver jumped in third place after the start but experienced over steering at the halfway mark. He dropped to 4th place and spun coming out of a corner as he was about to regain his position. "I had to force the car into the turn because of the over steer and it just spun on me when I got out of corner eleven. But I made some points and we'll improve in Mont-Tremblant in May."

Thomas, from behind

The series officials penalized Brandon Thomas with a stop and go penalty for being too fast when the red lights went off. Back on the track in last position, he fought his way back but was a lap down and finished in 14th place. "We knew Brandon would always finish in the Top Ten, said Gelles. But after starting from so far, this is unfortunate for him. But the rest of the season is full of promises for Brandon."

Yager, Mister Consistency

Rookie Michael Yager learned a lot this weekend in Arizona. "On a large and wide track like this, it is very easy to make mistakes when you looked for the perfect lap. But I learned a lot in four days. In the race, I stayed out of trouble and eased my way up into 9th, my best finish this year. Can't wait for the next event in Canada."

Next race will take Gelles Racing north of the border to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec on May 21-23. The 2004 North America Formula Renault Pro series is sanctioned by Grand American Road Racing and organized by Race Team Promotions. Gelles Racing is sponsored by Corduroy Exclusive Fabrics, Mid-America Motorworks, TenFore and USA Today. You can visit Gelles web site at: www.gellesracing.com

-gr-

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Juan Martin Ponte