A second win in succession for Ponte. Round 3 of the 2003 Fran-Am Winter Series. Miami-Homestead, Florida, February 15, 2003 -- Seventeen-year old Argentinean race car driver Juan Martin Ponte scored today on Miami Homestead's road course his ...
A second win in succession for Ponte.
Round 3 of the 2003 Fran-Am Winter Series.
Miami-Homestead, Florida, February 15, 2003 -- Seventeen-year old Argentinean race car driver Juan Martin Ponte scored today on Miami Homestead's road course his second victory in a row in Round 3 of the 2003 Fran-Am and Formula Renault 2000 International Winter Series.
Twenty-two year old Italian Giorgio Mondini drove a strong race to cross the line in second place. Eighteen-year old Alex Lloyd from Great Britain arrived home in third place, beating his countryman Robert Bell.
The field of 33 cars was ready for the start when stalled cars caused it to be delayed. The procedure was repeated and the field got away nicely this time. The dash for Turn 1 was extremely exciting with numerous cars dicing for positions. Pole sitter Juan Martin Ponte, the winner of Round 2 in Sebring, enjoyed a good start and led the field. Behind Ponte, Italian drivers Michele Bartyan and Giorgio Mondini worked together to box in Britain's Alex Lloyd. The strategy helped the two Italians get past Lloyd in the first corner but it also allowed race leader Ponte to increase his lead.
Holland's Junior Strous qualified well in his first Fran-Am race, starting in fifth place. Unfortunately, he had a bad start and fell down the field. The 16-year old driver pushed very hard and sliced through the field to eventually finish in eighth place.
American Matt Green hit the wall hard between Turns 7 and 8 on lap 13. Green requested medical attention from the marshals and that brought out a full course yellow. Green was checked by the medical staff and luckily only suffered minor swelling and bruises.
Ponte, driving for Antonio Ferrari's Team Eurointernational, controlled the 23-lap race all the way to the chequered flag. Mondini finished second, beating Lloyd. The winner of Round 1, Britain's Robert Bell had a strong race, finishing just off the podium in fourth position. His team mate at Team Firstair -- James Murphy -- also ran strongly to finish sixth.
The 4th race of the Winter Series will be staged tomorrow afternoon still on Miami Homestead's road course.
WINNER -- JUAN MARTIN PONTE (Argentina)
"I got caught at the start but it proved to be a good one. I went in Turn 1 in the lead. My car started to develop turn-in understeer during the race but luckily I was able to keep it under control until the flag. I certainly hope to do the same tomorrow!"
The Winter Series is opened to Fran-Am and Formula Renault single seaters powered by two-litre engines. These race cars are powered by 185-horsepower, four-cylinder Renault engines, are fitted with front and rear wings and are shod on slick Michelin tires. The competitors are amongst the world's best up and coming race car drivers who will soon be the next Formula 1 and CART Series' drivers. The drivers compete for a cash prize fund of U.S. $100,000 and a free test drive in the new Formula Renault V6 car in Europe.