Barbie Car at Centre Stage of Last-Lap Thriller May 18, 2003 (Toronto, Canada): The "Be Anything with Barbie at Wal-Mart" race car came tantalizingly close to victory yesterday as the Canadian Formula Ford Championship opened its 2003 series. In...
Barbie Car at Centre Stage of Last-Lap Thriller
May 18, 2003 (Toronto, Canada): The "Be Anything with Barbie at Wal-Mart" race car came tantalizingly close to victory yesterday as the Canadian Formula Ford Championship opened its 2003 series. In a fifteen-lap race at Mosport International Raceway near Bowmanville, Ontario, Louis-Philippe Dumoulin, subbing for regular driver Ashley Taws, suffered a gearbox failure just as he had taken the lead on the final lap.
Dumoulin qualified fourth during sessions held on Friday, but Taws's 2002 team mate and reigning series Champion looked relaxed and confident prior to yesterday afternoon's race.
After loosing ground at the start, he was fifth at the end of the first lap. On lap four, Dumoulin grabbed third place and set his sights on second-placed Didier Schraenen. At the halfway point, the pink Barbie car was bearing down on Schraenen and on the ninth lap it was up into second place. Race leader Chris Guerrieri had a big lead, but Dumoulin looked stronger with every lap. Taws and her AIM Autosport team watched intently from pit lane as the race headed toward a dramatic ending.
When the 'last lap' sign was displayed, Guerrieri shot across the line with the Barbie car filling his mirrors. Dumoulin took the lead, but immediately lost third gear and gave the lead back to Guerrieri. Dumoulin fell back and finished sixth in an ill-sounding race car.
"That was an exciting race," said Taws who hopes to return to racing action at the Toronto Indy in July. "L-P (Dumoulin) and everyone at AIM Autosport did a great job. The 'Be Anything with Barbie at Wal-Mart' car came very close to a win today."
Taws was at the track throughout the event and the nineteen-year-old racer remains a fan favourite despite being unable to race this weekend. She was kept busy signing autographs and having photos taken with well wishers who can't wait to see her back in her famous pink race car.
"It's amazing how many people came to see me," said Taws. "There were fans, plus competitors from all the different series, media people and lots of track workers came me too. Everyone was really nice."
Taws, who was badly injured in a traffic accident last December, has worked relentlessly to regain her health and strength. She hopes to be able to get back in her race car in June to prepare for her return to competition.
Dumoulin will drive the Barbie car again next weekend when the Canadian Formula Ford Championship heads to Lime Rock Park in Connecticut for round two, May 24. Once again, Taws will be on hand cheering from the sidelines.