NA 2000: Toronto race summary

Toronto, Ontario(11 July 04) Red Bull racer Matt Jaskol made the most of his debut race in Formula Renault competition as he dueled his way to a thrilling victory ahead of Ontario native Brandon Thomas to win round four of the North American ...

Toronto, Ontario(11 July 04) Red Bull racer Matt Jaskol made the most of his debut race in Formula Renault competition as he dueled his way to a thrilling victory ahead of Ontario native Brandon Thomas to win round four of the North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship, held in support of the Champ Car Molson Indy Toronto event.

Eurointernational's Juan Martin Ponte took third position to move atop the championship standings once again after pole sitter and championship leader Mark Wilkins of Toronto was eliminated by contact from the race while leading a dramatic race, which saw three different leaders and fierce battles all through the order on the 1.755-mile temporary street circuit.

Jaskol, who had never previously raced a Formula Renault, and had also never raced on a street circuit before, drove a smart race as he was patient in the early stages of the race, and turned on the speed when it counted to take a 1.478-second victory over Western Union's Thomas, who was in fine form all weekend as he scored his first podium finish of the season.

"This is absolutely a fantastic race car to drive, and an unbelievable result for Red Bull and Autotecnica," said a champagne-soaked Jaskol. "I had a blast out there racing wheel to wheel with these guys. I had to be patient at the beginning, and the race really just came to me. I had a great battle with Thomas for the lead, and from there, I just tried to pull out as much of a gap as I could to take the win."

Second place finisher Thomas was pleased with the result, but was wishing he'd had a little bit more for Jaskol.

"Second is okay, I guess, but of course, I wish I could have held Matt off a little bit longer-maybe until the finish!" a smiling Thomas said. "But this is a great result for Western Union, and to do well at home is so rewarding, I can't wait to do some more street racing again soon."

Pole sitter Wilkins took the lead at the start and began to build up a gap over Renato Jader David's Jade machine before a yellow flag for the stalled car of Walter Koller regrouped the field. Wilkins held onto the lead on the restart and led the field cleanly through turn one, but on the run into turn three, Marcos Gomes carried too much entry speed in his ITUPETRO machine as he fought for second with David, and ended up spinning a hapless Wilkins into the wall and ending his day.

The track was cleared of debris, and David led the field to the restart, but was judged to have jumped the start and given a black flag as a pack of racers fought for position behind him. Jaskol and Thomas traded second place, with the two staging a mammoth battle featuring close but clean racing for the spot, which became the lead with David's penalty.

Just behind this battle, Juan Martin Ponte was struggling with an ill-handling car with Antoine Bessette, Ricardo Imery, Katherine Legge, and Michael Yager all giving chase within seconds of one another, providing some of the best racing of the weekend for the enthusiastic Canadian fans.

The Formula Renault V6 Championship is the top rung on the North American Formula Renault Championship ladder, which also includes the North American Formula Renault 1600 Championship and the North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship. The Formula Renault V6 is expected to make its North American competition debut in the latter stages of the2004 North American Formula Renault 2000 season.

-renault.na-

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Series Formula Renault
Drivers Katherine Legge , Antoine Bessette , Juan Martin Ponte , Ricardo Imery , Mark Wilkins , Matt Jaskol , Marcos Gomes