Taws fifth at Trois Rivieres. August 05, 2002 (Toronto, Ontario): Ashley Taws of Newmarket, Ontario, drove her "Be Anything With Barbie at Wal-Mart" race car to fifth-place yesterday as the fifth and sixth rounds of the Canadian Formula ...
Taws fifth at Trois Rivieres.
August 05, 2002 (Toronto, Ontario): Ashley Taws of Newmarket, Ontario, drove her "Be Anything With Barbie at Wal-Mart" race car to fifth-place yesterday as the fifth and sixth rounds of the Canadian Formula Ford Championship were held at the Grand Prix du Trois Rivieres in Trois Rivieres, Quebec. Taws, who grabbed headlines in July by taking pole position at the Toronto Indy, continues to gain respect for her driving skills and fan-friendly personality.
Twenty-five cars turned out for this weekend's races and eighteen-year-old Taws faced many drivers with valuable experience on the difficult 2.433-km (1.521-mile) temporary street course. Taws was soon up to speed, however, and asserted herself as the fastest rookie by qualifying fifth for race one. She was fifth again in the second qualifying session, securing the inside of row three for the start of both 25-lap races.
In race one, held Saturday, Taws got away well when the green flag waved, holding fifth place as the field sprinted away. She soon claimed fourth and began to chase down the third-placed car of Jean-Philippe Papineau. On lap ten, Taws was breathing down Papineau's neck, but as they exited corner eight, she suddenly slowed, found a safe place to stop and hopped out. A suspension joint had failed and the front-right wheel was visibly out of alignment.
"It just broke," Taws said. "It's too bad, but things like that will happen from time to time. The crew felt really bad, but it wasn't their fault, it was just a weak part. It wasn't all bad though because my teammate, Louis-Philippe Dumoulin, won and this is his home town so we have something to celebrate."
While the team worked to repair her car, Taws signed autographs and posed for photos as a steady stream of fans came to visit the increasingly popular young racer. Even her crew are greeted with thumbs up and cheers of 'Go Barbie' as they move around the paddock and on pitlane.
In race two, Taws again had a good start and held fifth place as the pack dove in to corner one. Although promising excitement, the race turned into a follow-the-leader affair, particularly in the second half, when Dumoulin headed off his second victory of the weekend, while Ashley was trapped in a five-car train battling for second through sixth. Fans held their breath as Ashley repeatedly tried to take fourth place, but she was foiled time after time and had to watch her back as Papineau looked for an opportunity to move up from sixth. The laps reeled off, but no-one was able to change position.
"It was tough out there," said Taws. "I think I could have gained a couple of places if I had got by Jean-Philippe (Papineau), but he didn't slip up and I couldn't take the place away from him. The Barbie car was awesome all weekend, thanks to AIM Autosport, and I had a great time in Trois Rivieres, thanks to all the great race fans here."
The next event in the Canadian Formula Ford Championship is at Mosport International Raceway, August 16-18.